Ingredients

  • Risotto
  • 3 live lobsters, ¼ lb each
  • 6-8 c chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 lb Arborio, Carnaroli, or other medium-grain Italian rice
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 1 medium butternut squash, roasted, flesh scooped out
  • ¾  mascarpone
  • 4 c baby arugula
  • 2 T snipped chives

Method

Lobsters

Bring large pot of water to a boil. To kill the lobsters instantly, sharply insert a chef's knife between their eyes. Slip the lobsters into the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes (remember that the meat will cook some more when it's added to the rice.)

Use tongs to pull the lobster out of the pot; set aside until cool enough to handle.

Twist the tails and claws off the lobsters; using a kitchen shears, split the tails lengthwise. Remove the meat (discarding the veins), and cut it into chunks. Crack the claws and knuckles with a mallet to free the meat.

Risotto

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a simmer, then lower the heat to keep the broth hot.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and a good pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Add the rice and stir until lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes

Now you're going to stir liquid into the rice, a little at a time: Add the wine first, and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice absorbs it. Begin stirring in the hot stock one cup at a time, waiting until each addition is fully absorbed before adding more. Continue adding stock just until the rice is tender and creamy but still offers a bit of resistance to the tooth when you chew it – that's al dente. You may have some stock left over.

Gently fold in the chunks of lobster, heating them through.

Fold in the squash and the mascarpone. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Fold in the arugula at the last moment, just wilting it in. Spoon the piping-hot risotto into large, shallow soup bowls, sprinkle with chives and finish with a good drizzle of the vanilla oil.

Vanilla Oil

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 c grapeseed oil

Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds, and reserve.

Pour oil into a small saucepan and place over very low heat. Whisk in the vanilla seeds and toss in the pods as well. Cook until the oil registers 120 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and set aside to steep and cool. When cool, pour the oil into a jar with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate. The vanilla oil will keep for 2 weeks.