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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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