December 16, 2023

Crab Risotto (with a garlic wine sauce)

If you thought my Lobster Risotto was indulgent, get ready because you haven’t tasted anything yet. One bite, and you will be left speechless, and wanting more. This creamy, velvety, and delicious crab risotto is topped with a delicate, but flavorful garlic butter wine sauce, and served with a generous amount of meaty crab. Think dipping crab legs in butter—kind of delicious. A great recipe to make for a date night in, or if you simply want to treat yourself.

*This post is sponsored by Roland Foods https://rolandfoods.com/, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for your support!

Crab risotto topped with a garlic and white wine sauce

TIPS ON MAKING RISOTTO

Let’s be real: risotto has gotten a bad reputation for being this impossible, high-maintenance dish. The reality is, it isn’t very hard to make. In fact, I consider it one of the easier dishes to prepare. Beyond the myths and rules, risotto is simply cooking rice gradually with a little extra attention and a few mixes (no, you do not have to constantly stir). Below are some tips and tricks on cooking risotto that, when combined with my no-constant-stir approach, will help you successfully make this or any other risotto at home.

USE THE RIGHT RICE

I think I say it 30x in this post, but the rice that you choose can make or break this dish. There are a few types, but for the purpose of this dish the only one that you should be buying is Arborio. Carnaroli is another variety that makes excellent creamy risotto, but it much harder to come by (Roland Foods also has this variety on their site). Please don’t use long grain, or even worse do not use sushi rice. I know it is a short grain, but it is not the right short grain.

DO NOT OVERCOOK

Risotto should be al dente, not overly mushy or even worse hard. It is really easy to overcook risotto. One minute the grains are hard and the next they are a gluey mess. Risotto should be loose, when you place it on the plate it should spread just a bit. However, it shouldn’t be a watery or runny.

USE THE RIGHT PAN

As stated in “tools needed” the best pan for this is a wide sauté pan with a bit of a lip, or a braiser. Do not try and make risotto in a Dutch oven or sauce pan.

USE YOUR INTUITION

If you don’t know this already I cook with feeling not tablespoons. All the recipes on this site one way or another started with a pinch here and a taste there, then they are tested and true measurements are made. Follow the recipe below, but cook with feeling. Taste the food as it is cooking, does it need more salt? (FYI different brands of salt have different saltiness levels). You used all the broth yet it is still a little hard, add a touch more broth. Don’t go making full substitutions, but trust yourself in the kitchen.

jumbo lump crab

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR CRAB RISOTTO

RISOTTO

  • Arborio Rice – No, you cannot just grab the long-grain rice you have chilling in the pantry. The rice is the most important part of this dish. Arborio rice is a short-grain rice with high starch content, resulting in a rich and creamy risotto. Different varieties of rice have different starch levels, and in order for risotto to come together, you need to use high-starch rice. More starch = creamier risotto. While there are a few other types of rice that will work, Arborio rice is the most common and accessible rice used.

    For this recipe I used Roland Foods Arborio rice. Roland® is a purveyor of fine global ingredients and has been doing so for 85+ years. Their products are imported from around the world, in locations that make those ingredients the best, so you know that the product you are using is high quality. Roland’s Arborio rice has a high starch content, which is what we are looking for here, but also maintains a great chew (because no one wants a mushy risotto). Find Roland Foods’ Arborio rice to make delicious risotto HERE!
  • Chicken Broth – The risotto portion of this recipe is pretty basic so the chicken broth needs to be good. No low sodium, no watered down version, just good flavorful broth.
  • Wine – Best rule of thumb, use a wine you would drink. For this recipe you need a dry white wine. My recommendation and go-to is Sauvignon Blanc, but if you like Pinot Grigio more go with that
  • Garlic – Fresh only!
  • Shallot – Ah yes, onions sweet mild cousin.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Just a touch, and before you turn away because I am mixing dairy with shellfish, the risotto needs it. Not only does it add a hint of nutty sodium to the dish, but it makes it super creamy. The recipe only calls for 1/3 of a cup so it won’t taste overly cheesy.
  • Butter

CRAB GARLIC BUTTER WINE SAUCE

Ever make a beurre blanc? If you haven’t then this recipe might change the way you look at wine sauces. This technical French sauce might sound intimidating, but it is rather easy to make.

  • Butter – You need a lot of it. Since I cook almost exclusively savory dishes, I use salted butter. If, by any chance, you only have unsalted, that works too; you just may need to add salt at the end. Cut the butter into tablespoons and keep it in the fridge until the wine has reduced (excluding the 1 tbsp in the beginning). The butter needs to be cold for the sauce to emulsify. Confused? Keep reading.
  • Garlic – Fresh only!
  • Wine – The same white wine you use for the risotto.
  • Thyme – Optional, however it does add great flavor. This recipe only calls for 2 sprigs so if you don’t want to go out and buy a pack of thyme for 2 sprigs I absolutely understand.
  • Crab – Jumbo lump crab, the kind you find in the refrigerator section, it’s expensive, but this dish is absolutely worth it. Lump crab is a good substitute, and it’s also easier on the wallet. The 1 lb serving means that this dish is swimming in crab, especially if you are serving three people. If you are making it for only two, 10-12oz works.
  • Parsley – Fresh.
  • Lemon – Just a wedge to brighten up the sauce and complement the crab.

TOOLS NEEDED

Wide Pan- The rice needs ample surface area to cook. A wide saute pan or even a braiser works for this dish. If you don’t have either a large skillet will also do.

Crab risotto topped with a garlic and white wine sauce

HOW TO MAKE CRAB RISOTTO (WITH A GARLIC WINE SAUCE)

The risotto portion of this recipe, is your basic, yet still flavorful, risotto making it a great one to save in the books. Not feeling crab? No worries, skip the crab and just make the beurre blanc, or even yet skip the wine sauce all together and just enjoy the creamy and delicious risotto as is.

RISOTTO

Sauté the base –Before you even put the pan to the stove, place the broth in a saucepan over low heat. A warm broth keeps the temperature of the risotto from dipping several times during cooking yielding in a better end product. Add 3 tbsp of butter to a wide pot or pan over low heat. Add the garlic and shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes until soft and fragrant, but not brown. If the garlic begins the brown the heat is too high.

Toast the risotto – Next, add the Arborio rice to the pan and toast it for 3-5 minutes until grains start to become translucent. Do not and I repeat do not wash the rice beforehand. Washing the rice will completely strip the rice of the starches, starch that is needed to make this dish creamy.

Add the Wine – Deglaze the pan with the wine, and cook until it is essentially gone. This will happen fast, 2-3 minutes.

Add broth– Add the warm broth to the risotto, but not all at once! For every cup of risotto, you need approx. 4- 4 1/2 cups of broth. Have extra on hand! I found with different brands of Arborio rice I needed + or – a cup. My rule of thumb is to pour just enough broth to cover the risotto, when the broth starts to dip below the grains it is time to add more.

Mix, add, shake – Mix 2-3 times per broth add. If you end up mixing more, no biggie! Also give the pan a mix or a shake midway to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom. I typically mix once right after I add the broth and like 2-3 times a few minutes later.

Add the Parm– In the last minute, right before all the broth has been absorbed turn off the heat. Throw in the Parmesan and combine.

GARLIC BUTTER WINE SAUCE (BEURRE BLANC)

Drain + Dry the Crab – Chances are the crab is sitting in water. Drain and dry the crab with a paper towel to absorb all the moisture. The crab is added to the sauce at the last minute so any excess moisture can water down the emulsified sauce.

Saute the Base + Add Wine- TTo a skillet add 1 tbsp of butter, leaving the rest of the butter in the fridge. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes until it is soft and fragrant. Deglaze with wine and reduce for 6-8 minutes. You are looking for the wine to reduce in half, and completely cook out the alcohol taste.

Add the Butter- Throw in the thyme and one by one add the cold butter. Continuously whisk as the butter slowly melts into the sauce. Once one tbsp is half melted add another, and another. The sauce will begin to emulsify and thicken and will be cloudy in appearance. If at any point the sauce begins to break, turn off the heat, throw an ice cube in there and allow it to bring the temp down. The sauce will come back together and you can turn the heat back on and continue.

Add the Crab + Herbs – Once the sauce is silky and light golden in color add the crab, parsley and gently fold.

Trust me when I say making risotto is easy. To add a bit of a challenge you are also going to make this beurre blanc at the same time. You COULD make it before, but hold off on adding the crab until the risotto is ready. What could happen is some moisture from the crab could water down the sauce. It would still be delicious but it will lose its creamy consistency.

crab garlic butter wine sauce (beurre blanc)
Crab risotto topped with a garlic and white wine sauce

STORING/REHEATING

Risotto is meant to be eaten fresh, right out of the pan. Unfortunately, it won’t heat up as well as you would hope, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the fridge. When ready to heat place the risotto in a pan on low heat with a splash of broth to rehydrate. Leftover risotto is also great to use to make risotto balls or arancini.

If you are new here then you might not know about the other risottos on this site. Below are all of them, and trust me when I say they are all worth making in addition to this recipe.

Mushroom Parm Risotto // Kale & Pancetta Risotto
Lemon Parm Risotto // Cacio e Pepe Risotto
Spicy Vodka Risotto // Brown Butter & Sage Risotto
Creamy Tomato Risotto // Smoked Gouda Risotto
Lobster Risotto

December 16, 2023

Crab Risotto ( with a garlic wine sauce)

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This creamy, velvety, and delicious crab risotto is topped with a delicate, but flavorful garlic butter wine sauce, and served with a generous amount of meaty crab.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Date Night, Risotto, Seafood
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Risotto

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3/4 cup white wine dry
  • 4 – 4 1/2 cups chicken broth warmed
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Crab Garlic White Wine Sauce

  • 9 tbsp butter kept cold
  • 8 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup white wine dry
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme optional
  • 1 lb jumbo lump crab
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped
  • 1 lemon wedge approx. 1/4 of a lemon

Instructions

Risotto

  • Place the broth on the stove on low heat to keep warm.
  • In a wide pot on medium-low heat melt the butter. Once melted add shallots, garlic and approx. 1/2 tsp of salt. Sweat and cook down for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and soft. The garlic should not be brown, at any point it starts to brown lower the heat.
  • Add arborio rice and mix to combine. Toast rice for 3-4 minutes until it starts to become translucent.
  • Add the wine and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the wine is almost non existent.
  • Add the first round of broth. Depending on the pan add broth until it just covers the risotto. (could be 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups). Give it a quick mix, a shake of the pan to ensure all grains are covered and cook until rice absorbs the majority of the broth. Mix 2-3 times each round of broth. Don't worry if you mix more. It terms of seasoning after the first round taste it (avoiding the rice), if it needs salt start with a heavy pinch (1/4 tsp) and go from there.
  • Add more broth and repeat above steps.
  • Once all broth has been added, but not completely absorbed (15-18 minutes of cooking) give it a taste. The rice should be loose, yet al dente. If the rice has too much of a bite add more broth, about 1/4 cup at a time. Once al dente add the Parmesan cheese. Mix to incorporate.

Crab Garlic White Wine Sauce

  • Drain and dry the crab with a paper towel to absorb all the moisture.
  • To a skillet add 1 tbsp of butter, leaving the rest of the butter in the fridge. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes until it is soft and fragrant.
  • Deglaze with wine and reduce for 6-8 minutes, it will have reduced by half. Throw in the thyme and slowly add the cold butter one by one. Continuously whisk as the butter slowly melts into the sauce. Once one tbsp is half melted add another, and another. The sauce will begin to emulsify and thicken and will be cloudy in appearance.
  • If the sauce begins to break add an ice cube and pull the sauce off the heat and whisk. This will lower the temp and bring the sauce back together.
  • Once the sauce is silky and light golden in color add the crab, parsley and gently fold, careful not to break up the crab
  • Serve the risotto immediately with a generous helping of crab and sauce ladled over.

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