Saturday, May 10, 2014

Love and Lobster Risotto

B. and I moved into our apartment together in July.  It was my first time living with someone (and I mean someone whose relationship with me was not "female roommate"), and it was our first time being truly together on the same side of the ocean.
I remember two meals from then.  The first was the meal we had the day we moved into our apartment.  We had signed the final papers at 10:30am, spent all day moving things out of my storage unit and into our new apartment in the pouring rain, and then we'd gone to Ikea to buy a bed.  At this point it was past 7pm and we hadn't eaten all day.  We went to the food court and I had the famous Ikea meatballs for the first time.  I was sweaty, ravenous, and exhausted.  The food tasted amazing.
The second meal was a few weeks later.  The furniture we'd bought had just been delivered so we finally had a dining room table.  We'd been so caught up in all the business of settling into our new place, I wanted us to have a date night at home.  At luck would have it, lobster was on sale at the local market.  We bought two, broiled them, and ate them with steamed broccoli, corn, and rice.  It was lovely.  But this wasn't the meal I want to tell you about.  It was the remnants from that meal that made a second meal.
I'm one of those strange people who likes the "torso" of the lobster more than the tail, and so we had tail meat leftover, plus all the lobster shells and little tiny leg pieces.  There is so much meat you can't get out of shellfish and it occurred to me that this might be an excellent stock base.  I combined some shallot, a little bit of onion, and all the lobster shell pieces into our new pressure cooker and 20 minutes later, out came an incredible seafood stock.  And while flipping through our pressure cooker manual, I saw a recipe for pressure-cooker risotto.  It was too perfect of an idea to let pass.

The seafood stock (with a little help from some butter and rice) became lobster risotto, studded with the pieces of tail meat.  It was heavenly.  That meal we didn't talked much, but we scraped our bowls clean, and afterwards we leaned back in our chairs and smiled at each other in the comfortable quiet of our home.
B. and I have eaten many, many meals together since then - some great, some ordinary; some memorable, some forgettable - but this meal and this memory I hold dear.

I will note that the picture I have doesn't look like the typically texture of risotto - not quiet creamy enough - but this is actually because we had a little problem with our pressure cooking allowing steam to "leak" out, which meant that we lost quite a bit of the cooking liquid.  The first batch of "risotto" was therefore more akin to stove-top cooked rice, but the second batch I made (which, of course, there is no picture of) was perfect, and the risotto had the creamy, dreamy, perfect texture.

Pressure Cooker Lobster Risotto
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup of short-grain rice
2 1/4 cups of seafood broth
splash of wine (2-3 tablespoons)
meat from two lobster tails, chopped into large pieces

In your pressure cooker, heat 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat.  Saute the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes until they are soft and starting to caramelize.
Add the rice and saute until light brown, about 3 minutes.
Add the seafood stock and stir well.
Close pressure cooker and bring to pressure over medium-high heat.  Once the pressure indicator is "on" (whatever that means for your individual pressure cooker), turn the heat down and cook for 7 minutes on high pressure or 13 minutes on medium/low pressure.
Release the pressure and open the lid.
Stir the risotto thoroughly.
Add the lobster meat and spoon into bowls.

This will serve two as a complete meal or four as a side, accompanying a larger meal.
Feel free to replace the seafood broth with a vegetable or chicken broth and to stir in your desired accompaniments at the end (for example, sauteed mushrooms or chicken breast).

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