Cooking up Aunt Celeste's Risotto

Published On: Mar 16 2013 10:47:33 AM EDT   Updated On: Mar 16 2013 11:50:03 AM EDT

In this books culinary end, Chef Ron Block creates his favorite character from "Seating Arrangements" meal: Aunt Celeste’s Brown Butter Risotto with Brandy Seared Lobster.

Aunt Celeste’s Brown Butter Risotto with Brandy Seared Lobster


Lobster - meat from one large lobster or two good size tails
4 1/2 cups stock- (chicken or vegetable as desired-feel free to combine with a bit of white wine)
6 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
1 cup finely chopped onion, or shallots
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (short grain rice like this cooks best!)
1/2 cup brandy, plus another ¼ cup for lobster searing
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, plus additional for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bring large pot of boiling water to rolling boil. Add the lobster and cook for 8-10 minutes until shell is bright red and ends begin to curl (any meat visible turns white).
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from water and place in ice bath to slow cooking. When cool, open, then remove and slice lobster meat. Set aside.

In a medium pan, bring the stock/wine to a boil then simmer, keeping it hot.

In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Cook until butter begins to foam and turns brown, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add the onion and cook, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the brandy and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of stock and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue adding the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of stock to absorb before adding the next. Cook until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, 2 tbsp. butter and 2 tablespoons chives. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Heat a sauté pan on medium and melt the remaining butter until it is foamy and begins to turn brown. Add reserved brandy and heat through. Place lobster pieces in pan and sear on both sides. Remove from Heat

Transfer the risotto to serving bowls. Arrange the lobster meat on top of the risotto and garnish with Parmesan cheese and the remaining chives.  


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