These are a few of my favourite things

Lobster  prepped and ready to go!

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?  Well quite possibly.  However when your very favourite things to eat are expensive and seasonal, they tend to be treats you save for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, or pay-day the month after you did a crazy amount of overtime.

My favourite decadent things to eat are lobster and truffles.  Pretty obvious choices right? Basically if something has either of these ingredients in it, I’m going to want to try it.  Many people think that caviar or oysters are the ultimate in sophistication, and don’t get me wrong – I certainly wouldn’t turn away from a caviar-topped blini or oysters on the half shell. But for me, the best special occasion dinner would include either lobster or truffles.

Risotto is another favourite dish of mine, something we actually make most weeks.  I love that risotto is something you can put almost anything in, depending on what’s in season or even what you have in your fridge.  I have had lobster risotto before, and risotto with truffle is something I enjoyed last autumn on our trip to the Piedmont region of Italy.  Both are delicious and decadent, and excellent ways to showcase these special ingredients.

Last winter I came across a recipe for truffled lobster risotto and wondered if maybe it would be overkill.  If I’ve learned anything about cooking with things like truffles, it’s that you don’t want to mess around too much with them. After much debate, we decided to give the risotto a try, and it’s fair to say that we were more than pleasantly surprised. Somehow both of these show-stopping ingredients shone through and complemented each other beautifully.  To be honest, I was kind of impressed that we had turned out something this gourmet from our tiny kitchen!  I was also pleased at how economical a recipe it was, considering it used expensive ingredients – the lobster tails go quite far (you also use the shells in the stock) and truffle oil is used very sparingly.

If you’re looking for an excuse to celebrate with a delicious dinner, and lobster and truffle are some of your favourite things, then this is the recipe for you!

Truffled Lobster Risotto – Serves 4

From Bon Appetit, January 1998

Ingredients

  • 2 8-ounce uncooked lobster tails
  • 3 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons white or black truffle oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped peeled carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Cook lobster in large pot of simmering salted water until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl of cold water to cool. Drain lobster. Remove meat from shells; reserve shells. Cut meat into 1/2-inch pieces.
  2. Break shells into large pieces. Place on baking sheet; bake 15 minutes. Blend shells with 1 cup chicken broth in blender until finely chopped. Strain through fine sieve. Reserve lobster broth; discard shells.
  3. Bring 2 1/2 cups chicken broth to simmer; keep hot. Heat 1 tablespoon truffle oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots and shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add rice; stir 2 minutes. Add brandy; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until brandy is absorbed, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add lobster broth and 3/4 of chicken broth. Simmer until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, adding remaining broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed and stirring often, about 20 minutes.
  5. Add lobster and cream; stir until heated through. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons truffle oil and chives. Season with salt and pepper.
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