This dish is true indulgence, thats right we are making lobster risotto. Made with herb butter poached lobsters, this lobster risotto is delicate, and light in flavor. Think of the flavor being closer to dipping a lobster tail in butter vs a lobster bisque, where you would typically find lot of other lobster risotto recipes. Make this dish for date night, the weekend, or whenever you just want to treat yourself to something a little more special. Like all my other risotto recipes this one does require a little attention, but in no way are you going to get an arm workout. Easy, and delicious.
What is Butter Poached Lobster?
Risotto takes about 18-20 minutes to cook, and within that amount of time you are simmering, mixing, waiting, and mixing some more until the rice is perfectly creamy and cooked. Imagine if you were to cook the lobster in that amount of time, the result would be a chewy overcooked mess. Instead the lobster is slowly and gently cooked in a decent, okay a lot, of butter. Does this add time to the overall dish? Yes, but the result is worth it. A few things to note:
- The temperature of the butter is critical to a successful butter poached lobster. Too high and you will be left with separated or brown butter. Too low and you are adding a significant amount of cook time. If you have a thermometer use it and keep the butter between 160F-180F degrees.
- Water needs to be added to the butter in order to help it prevent from breaking/separating.
Don’t worry, just because we aren’t cooking the risotto with the lobster doesn’t mean we won’t impart a ton of lobster flavor. First of all, the herby butter we are using to poach the lobsters will be used as the fat the cook down the base, AND used to finish the risotto. While that will lay down the base of lobster flavor it is actually the shells that are simmered in with the broth that will really make this risotto taste like lobster .
Can I use frozen lobster tails?
Absolutely! Buy 4-5oz lobster tails, but hey no one is stopping you from buying larger ones. If opting for frozen give ample time to defrost. Once removed, pat the lobster meat with a paper towel to absorb any excess water before poaching.
Can I use lobster or seafood broth instead of adding the shells to my broth?
No. The point of this dish is that the lobster flavor is light and delicate, not forced and artificial. I have tested a great deal of seafood broth / lobster stock and I find that they can lean overly fishy in flavor. By using the shells to impart flavor in a chicken or vegetable broth you wont get an overly fishy, or artificial fish stock flavor, just lobster.
What You’ll Need for Lobster Risotto
- Arborio Rice – Carnaroli is also a great rice to use, however harder to come by. Don’t try and make this with the long grain rice in your pantry. Different varieties of rice absorb liquid differently, have a different starch level, and in the end just won’t yield the same results. Arborio and Carnaroli have high starch levels. More starch = creamier risotto. Find Carnaroli rise online HERE.
- Lobster Tails – 4-5oz frozen or fresh tails. Go bigger if you want, no one is stopping you.
- Broth – The broth for this risotto is made up of half chicken or vegetable and half water. The excess lobster shells will simmer for 15 minutes in the broth/water and give a lovely and delicate lobster flavor without being overly fishy.
- Dry White Wine – Choose a dry white wine. Unfortunately, cooking wine is a no no for this recipe. Instead a good rule of thumb is to cook with a wine you would drink.
- Garlic – Fresh only!
- Shallots – Sweet and subtle in flavor, I finding appropriate places to use shallot instead of onion.
- Parmesan Cheese – It isn’t risotto without a little cheese. Freshly grated only!
- Parsley– Fresh only!
- Butter – A whole stick, sorry. Not all the butter will be used in the final dish, but is necessary for cooking the lobster. I like to use salted butter for poaching the lobster tails, but if you happen to only have unsalted use that and add a good pinch of salt when poaching.
How to Make Lobster Risotto?
This lobster risotto recipe is more lengthy than my other ones, but worth it. In addition to the standard risotto step by steps, the lobster needs to be poached, and the broth needs to come together. These extra steps might make making risotto intimidating, but I assure you they are just as easy as the others on this site. While the steps below are a great guide always refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the page for full instructions.
Butter poach the lobster– Add a stick of butter to a medium saucepan with the water, and parsley. Over low heat bring this to 160F degrees and keep it in the 160F-180F range. The butter will break at 190F. I highly suggest you use a thermometer, too high and your butter will break and begin to brown. While the butter is coming to a simmer crack open the lobster tails by cutting the top and bottom, cracking it open and carefully slipping the meat out. Add the lobster meat to the now simmering butter. Cook for either 6-7 minutes if completely submerged or 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove when done, but save the butter. Cook time is an approximate, always check the doneness before removing. Lobster will be opaque when finished.
Make the Broth– In a saucepan add the 2 cups of broth, 2 1/2 cups of water, a heavy pinch of salt, and the lobster tails. Simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on. Start this step as soon as you remove the meat from the tails.
Sauté the base – Add 4 tbsp of the lobster butter butter to a wide pot or pan on low heat. Sauté the base, in this recipe it is 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 dry not washed rice to the pan and toast it for 3-5 minutes until grains start to become translucent. I can not stress enough, do not wash the rice beforehand, this will completely strip the rice of the starches it needs to make this dish super creamy.
Deglaze with wine – If adding wine (optional in some recipes, suggested in this one) deglaze the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the alcohol cooks off. The grains of rice will have started to absorb a good amount of the wine.
Add broth– When you reach the level of lobster flavor, strain the 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.
Final adds – In the last few minutes, right before all the broth has been absorbed add the parm, chopped lobster meat, and 2 more tbsp of the lobster butter. Turn off the heat, mix to incorporate, and serve immediately.
Store leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. With that said, it won’t have the same velvety texture and creaminess when you re-heat so try to enjoy it while it is fresh.
Looking for other risotto recipes? Check out the below! I assure you they are all delicious .
Cacio e Pepe Risotto
Spicy Vodka Risotto
Creamy Lemon Parm Risotto
Kale and Pancetta Risotto
Creamy Tomato Risotto
Brown Butter + Sage Risotto
Butter Poached Lobster
- 1 stick butter
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp parsley minced
- 3 4-5oz lobster tails
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 shallot minced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Butter Poached Lobster
- In a medium saucepan add the water, stick of butter, and minced parsley. Heat the butter to 160℉, keeping it in the 160℉-180℉ range. *If you don't have a candy thermometer let the butter mixture come to a light light simmer, and keep a careful eye on it.
- Remove the lobster meat from the shells by cutting along the top and bottom of the tail. Crack it open and carefully slip out the meat.
- When the butter is ready add the lobster meat. Cook for either 6-7 minutes if completely submerged or 2-3 minutes on each side. Lobster will be pearly and opaque when done. Remove from the pot, and rough chop when cooled.
- While the lobster meat is poaching make the broth. In a medium saucepan add the broth, water, a pinch of salt, and the lobster shells. Simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on.
- Add 4 tbsp of the lobster butter butter to a wide pot or pan on low heat. Add the garlic, shallots and approx. 1/2 tsp of salt and saute until soft and fragrant approx. 2-3 minutes.
- 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 before adding 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 every few minutes to avoid the rice from sticking.
- Add more broth and repeat above steps.
- Once almost all the broth has been added (approx. 4 cups), but not completely absorbed (15-18 minutes of cooking) give it a taste. Rice should still be loose, yet al dente. If it is still hard add more broth 1/4 cup at a time and cook down.
- Once done turn off the heat. Add the parm, lobster meat, and 2 more tbsp of lobster herb butter. Mix to combine and serve immediately.