Simple, elegant, delicious and impressive, this Butter Lobster Risotto is a special occasion-worthy dinner, featuring chunks of buttery lobster and creamy, cheesy risotto, that’s flavored with lobster and a drizzle of brown butter!
Butter lobster risotto is perfect as a romantic meal for two, or when you’ve got guests over for dinner.
It’s not every day that we have lobster for dinner (as much as I would love to!). So whenever we do get this delicious ingredient, I want to make it count. I love making things like lobster rolls, lobster bisque, lobster pasta, or even just steamed lobster with a side of butter, because why not? When it comes to lobster, it’s a one man (crustacean?) show, and you don’t need much else for a spectacular meal.
Having said that, you can usually find a good price for lobster (especially lobster tail), during certain times of the year like Valentine’s day (which is just around the corner), or Christmas.
And when an occasion like that comes calling, the one dish that I love to make is Butter Lobster Risotto! Simple, elegant, flavorful and impressive, lobster risotto is perfect for a romantic meal for two, or even when you’ve got guests over for dinner. This is one dish where the delicious lobster flavor is fully utilized, and it’s studded with buttery lobster chunks that have been poached in butter (because who can say no to extra flavor?). Plus, it’s a super comforting dish, especially in winter.
Risotto usually gets a bad rap for being difficult to make. Yes, it’s a bit time consuming, but it’s actually really easy to make, and absolutely worth your time. Plus, I love using leftovers to make arancini, or serve it for breakfast with a poached egg on top.
Here’s why this butter lobster risotto is just so flavorful!
- Instead of making risotto with chicken stock, I added the lobster tail shells into the stock and simmered it for about an hour to add more flavor. This way, you’re getting the most out of your lobster tails (or whole lobster), and not throwing out anything.
- An easier option however is to mix 1/2 chicken stock, along with 1/2 lobster stock (or clam stock) that you can buy in some supermarkets.
- The lobster tail (or even whole lobster) is poached in butter, and then chopped into large chunks, before being folded into the risotto.
- An easier option is to steam the lobster until fully cooked, chop the lobster meat into large chunks and then toss them in some butter instead.
- I also love adding some cognac to the risotto too! You can substitute with brandy or a dry white wine instead as well. Or just leave it out and add some extra stock, if you prefer to not use alcohol.
- I serve this lobster dinner dish with a drizzle of brown butter, which I mix with a little butter from the lobster poached butter, so that you get a double dose of lobster flavor, along with the nutty, toasty flavor of brown butter! Perfectly complements the creamy, cheesy risotto!
You can make this lobster risotto ahead of time. However, when you’re ready to reheat it, add a little extra liquid to the risotto so that it doesn’t dry out while being reheated. And if you can, keep the lobster separate, and fold it into the risotto just before serving. This way, you prevent the lobster from over-cooking when you’re reheating the risotto.
Side dish options for this butter lobster risotto
You don’t really need any side dishes for this lobster dinner, because it’s very filling, but if you do have some deep gullets to fill in your family, I would recommend,
- Steamed asparagus tossed in a little butter and lemon juice,
- A simple side salad with a simple vinaigrette,
- Cherry tomatoes cut in half and tossed in a simple vinaigrette.
Since the lobster risotto is quite a decadent meal, keep the side dishes light and fresh. But, I’d never say no to a delicious cocktail or drink to go with this dish though!
Drinks that pair well with butter lobster risotto
I shared a comprehensive post about preparing lobster a couple of weeks ago, and there I talked about beverages that pair well with lobster. Those drink options apply to this lobster risotto as well.
- A buttery chardonnay with fruity notes,
- A dry white wine like a sauvignon blanc, with fruity notes,
- A fruity sparkling wine (white or rose),
- A fresh cocktail with citrus (not super sweet cocktails), like a classic old fashioned, margarita, mojito, gin and tonic, etc.
I guarantee you’re going to love this special occasion lobster dinner dish! Yes, it takes a little bit of time to prepare, but this lobster risotto is the star and the whole show, and you don’t really need to worry about any side dishes to go with it.
Plus, you’re using the lobster meat as well as the shells to add flavor to the risotto, so you’re making good use of every part of this lobster tail for this recipe. More bang for your buck, and a memorable meal for the memorable people in your life! 🙂
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EQUIPMENT & TOOLS I USED FOR THIS RECIPE
Heavy duty scissors & Lobster crackers – This set is great for cooking and disassembling lobster for the flesh
Silicone spatula to stir the risotto
Butter Lobster Risotto
Butter poached Lobster tails
- 3 - 4 lobster tails 4 - 6 oz each
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter optional (straight from the fridge)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2 - 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 - 3 tbsp lobster poached butter
- 4 ½ cups low sodium chicken stock OR 2 cups low sodium chicken stock + 2 cups lobster/clam stock
- Leftover lobster shell
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 - 3 tbsp lobster poached butter or regular unsalted butter or olive oil (this is to saute onions)
- 2 shallots diced finely
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ½ cup cognac or white wine
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano
- 2 tbsp lobster poached butter or unsalted butter (this is to finish the risotto)
- Salt to taste
- Chopped spring onions or chives to serve
Butter poached lobster tails
- Steam or boil lobster tails for 2 - 3 minutes. This is to help remove lobster meat from the shell more easily. Place the par-boiled lobster tails in ice water (or very cold water) for a few minutes to cool down.
- Place the cooled lobster tails on a cutting board, with the underside of the tails facing up. Cut along the middle using kitchen shears. Then pull the shell apart to expose the lobster meat and gently remove the meat from the shell.
- In a small saucepan - place ¼ cup of water, with 2 clove of garlic and thyme. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Lower the heat to low.
- Cut the butter into blocks (2 tbsp blocks). Add one block into the simmering water and whisk constantly to dissolve the butter. DO NOT LET THE BUTTER BOIL.
- Before all the butter has melted, add another cube and whisk it in. Keep adding butter until all the butter is melted, but still emulsified. Make sure to not let the butter boil.
- Once all the butter is added and it's steaming, add in the 2 lobster tails.
- Poach the lobster meat by spooning the butter over it, and gently stir the lobster meat in the pot, until the meat turns opaque and the tail curls up.
- Remove the lobster tails from the pot, and allow them to cool on a plate. Once cooled down, chop the lobster tail meat into big chunks. Set aside until needed.
- Place the unsalted butter in a non-stick pan. Heat over medium heat and stir until the butter melts completely, and the milk solids turn a toasty brown color. Then remove from the heat.
- Add the lobster poached butter and stir to mix. Set aside.
- Reheat the butter if it solidifies before serving.
- If you’re using chicken stock and lobster/clam stock together, then mix both in a pot along with the garlic and paprika. Heat the stock over medium heat with the lid on, until it's simmering. Turn off the heat and keep the stock warm to make risotto. If needed, keep the stock on the "keep warm" setting or the lowest setting on your stove.
- If you’re using the lobster shells to infuse the stock - place the chicken stock in a saucepan. Then add the lobster shells, garlic, and paprika into the saucepan. With the lid on, bring the stock to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat or set it to "keep warm", and let it sit there (with the lobster shells in the stock) while you get the risotto ready. Make sure you have at least 4 cups of stock.
- Heat a pan (10 - 12 inches) over medium heat. Add 2 - 3 tablespoons of the lobster poached butter or olive oil. When the butter is heated, add the shallots and a generous pinch of sea salt and saute until the shallots have softened. Optional - you can add the garlic from the lobster poached butter to the shallots as well.
- When the shallots have softened, add the risotto. Stir continuously for about 2 - 3 minutes, until the rice is very slightly toasted.
- Add a ¼ cup of the warm stock and a ¼ cup of the cognac/wine to the risotto. Stir continuously over medium heat, until the rice absorbs the liquid. Add another ¼ cup of warm stock and the rest of the cognac/wine and stir until the rice absorbs this as well.
- Now add ½ cup of the warm stock and stir until the rice absorbs the liquid, and continue adding ½ cup of stock at a time while stirring and allowing the rice to absorb the liquid, until the rice is cooked. The arborio rice should swell up and be cooked to al dente. You can use about 3.5 - 4 cups of the stock, and it can take up to 20 minutes to cook the rice.
- When the rice is cooked through, add the lobster poached butter (or unsalted butter) and freshly grated parmesan cheese (or pecorino romano) and stir it into the risotto. Taste and season with extra salt if necessary.
- If you’re serving the risotto right away, add the chopped lobster and stir it in until the lobster is heated through.
- If you’re serving the lobster risotto later, then reheat the risotto over medium low heat and add a splash of water or stock to prevent the risotto from drying out. Add the lobster at the same time, and reheat the lobster and risotto together.
- Serve warm, with a sprinkling of spring onions or chives, and a drizzle of brown butter.