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Brown Butter Mushroom Risotto With Lobster for NYE

We really don't like to go out on New Years Eve anymore. Just the thought of getting all dressed up, putting on makeup, getting a cab in the cold, being squished into a space with lots of really drunk people who are trying to have the BEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR is just exhausting to me. Back in the day we used to joke that NYE was for amateurs and that every night was NYE to us. We were young ,worked in the film business and we worked very hard but we also played very hard. Honestly, I think we were both secretly thrilled when we had a baby and could lay the blame on him for declining all the invitations until they just stopped coming and I was fine with that because I am just partied out.

Now, the most exciting thing to happen on NYE around here is a rousing game of prosecco fuelled euchre with The Neighbours in our pjs and if everyone is actually still awake when the ball drops, it's a New Year's miracle. It's also a night for rich, decadent food because we have generally gained some winter pudge and January means eating clean for a month or so. It also often includes lobster in one form or another. Some years it's a pasta, other years it will be in some sort of soup or just boiled and eaten as it. This year I knew it was going to be a risotto and I knew it was going to also include lots of mushrooms. We have been depriving ourselves of these delectable beauties for a decade because The Kid hated them and since he hates so few things, I respected that. Now, he has decided he actually likes the flavour they impart but not the texture of the actual shroom so we are making up for lost time and cooking with them as much as humanly possible. I made the basil oil because it added a fancy pants, elegant touch to the dish but, to be honest, you could also just throw a handful of fresh basil into either the risotto right at the end or in the lobster when you heat it up. 

I am aware that this is not one of my usual "this is too good to be this simple to prepare" type of dishes that I tend to favour. It takes quite a bit of prep and you will be in the kitchen for a couple of hours but none of it is actually difficult and it really is a great thing to make for a special occasion. I would totally make just the brown butter mushroom risotto any old weeknight  but with the buttery mushrooms and lobster AND the basil oil drizzle, it is a very rich, decadent meal (the peppery arugula helps to cut through all that butter so try not skip that) although The Kid could probably eat it every night for a month and still look like Ichabod Crane in skinny jeans.

I only got one quick shot with my iphone of the actual dish with the extra mushrooms and the lobster because it was so good that they even ate the stuff I had put aside for the photo shoot the next day. Take my lack of finished beauty shot as a testament to how delicious this stuff is.

Brown Butter Mushroom Risotto with Lobster

serves 4 main course or 6-8 as a side

for the basil oil:
about 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch kosher salt

blanch the basil leaves in boiling water for 10 seconds, take it out with a strainer, plunge it into a bowl of ice water to shock it, remove it, gently squeeze the water out of it. Add the oil and the basil with a pinch of salt to a blender or food processor and give it a whiz until it's pureed. Set aside for about half an hour before you strain it into a bowl or a clean jar with a fine mesh strainer. Press on the solids to make sure you get all of the good stuff and discard those solids. You can keep this in the fridge for at least a week or two but let it come to room temp before you use it.

for the sautéed mushrooms:
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced (I like to use fresh porcini, brown button and maybe some oyster)
3 tbls of butter
1 clove garlic, chopped

melt the butter in a pan and sauté the garlic in that for a minute before adding the sliced mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms for about 3 to 4 minutes, until nicely browned and soft. Salt with a pinch of kosher salt and taste, adjusting if needed.

for the lobster:
300g cooked lobster, in chunks (you can boil it, use leftover, buy pre cooked tails and cut it up)
2 tbls of butter

melt the butter in a pan over med heat until it foams and starts to brown. Add in the lobster and sauté for just a minute or two until the meat is heated through.

the only photo that exists of the entire concoction due to extreme deliciousness

for risotto:
1/2 cup dried mushrooms (I used a mix of porcini and morel)
1 cup boiling water

Pour boiling water over the mushrooms and make sure they are all submerged. Let steep for at least 20 minutes and then strain the mushrooms into a bowl, using a fine strainer. Keep the steeping water and set both aside.

4 cups of chicken stock (I throw all of my leek and mushroom scraps in there, heat it up and let it steep while I prep everything)
mushroom soaking liquid
4 tbls butter
1 small leek
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
3/4 cup white wine
2 big handfuls of baby arugula
salt if needed
1/2 cup parmesan

Bring your stock with added mushroom soaking liquid to a boil in a pot and reduce the heat to keep it just under a simmer.

Melt the butter in a large pan and once it foams, keep a close eye on it until it turns a nice, nutty brown (it takes between 1 and 2 minutes) throw in your leeks and sauté until wilted before you add in the rice. Stir the rice around for another couple of minutes until it looks opaque. Now you pour in the white wine and stir until the wine is mostly absorbed.
Now we start adding the stock, a ladle full at a time, for about 20 minutes or until the rice is perfectly al dente. It shouldn't be mushy, of course, but it shouldn't be crunchy either and I find it almost always takes about 20 minutes. Add stock, stir pretty much constantly until most of the liquid is absorbed, add another ladle full of stock, lather, rinse repeat. After the 20 minutes, take the rice off the heat, stir in the arugula until it's wilted, taste and add salt if needed then stir in the parmesan, cover and set aside while you get the lobster and mushrooms heated.

Have your mushrooms prepped and ready to go if you haven't made them ahead of time. You can either make them before you start the risotto and heat them up slightly at this point or if it won't stress you out, you can sauté them at the very last minute to spoon over the risotto. It's up to you.

I wait until the risotto is done and I heat another pan immediately over med heat, melt another 2 tbls butter, let it foam and brown, add the cooked lobster and sauté long enough to just heat it.

Spoon the risotto into shallow bowls, add a big spoonful of sautéed mushrooms over that and then crown the whole thing with chunks of butter lobster.
Now, if that wasn't enough, drizzle a bit of basil oil over the whole shooting match and serve.

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