This is one of those special-occasion dishes all dressed to impress. Small lobster tails are available in the freezer case at most supermarkets; stock up when on sale. The shells are cooked in the broth, a chef’s trick that yields an even more flavorful broth. A half teaspoon of saffron is all that’s needed to elevate this dish to perfection.
3 lobster tails, about 5 ounces each
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBS butter, divided
1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1/2 tsp saffron
3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
Salt & pepper to taste
1 – 2 TBS heavy cream
1 TBS fresh Italian parsley, minced
In a large saucepot, bring broth, water and bay leaf to a boil. Add lobster tails and cook 5 minutes or until they turn pink. Remove from broth.
Using kitchen scissors, cut the lobster shells open and remove the meat. Set aside. Cut the lobster shells into large pieces and return to the broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low.
Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Remove shells and discard. Strain broth several times or until clear. Pour broth back into saucepot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer.
Meanwhile, chop lobster meat into bite-sized pieces.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook garlic in 1 TBS butter until tender. Add rice and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally.
Add broth by ladlefuls, stirring constantly and adding more broth as liquid is absorbed. Start tasting rice at about 20 minutes. It may take up to 30 minutes until it is the texture you prefer.
You may not use all of the broth.
Stir in lobster, saffron, peas, remaining 2 TBS butter and heavy cream. Gently heat through.
Divide between two shallow bowls. Garnish with parsley. Serves two as a main dish; four as an appetizer.
Gary – the addition of lobster gives a rich, savory flavor to this dish, heightened by the addition of butter and the inclusion of the lobster shells in the broth. White wines with richness and overtones of malolactic butter would be best to echo the flavors, such as a flavorful Chardonnay with creamy, buttery overtones. Another potential pairing would be a rich and creamy sparkling wine, aged champagne or one of the better sparkling wine examples from Italy or California that was aged on the lees for some time to increase its weight and texture.