Seafood risottos are one of the great joys in life, especially when they are made with fresh stock and fresh ingredients. Lobster and crab risotto is my favorite of them all.
Unlike terrestrial meats and stocks, those made with the fruits of the sea are zephyrs: Make them, enjoy them, and move on. They don’t store well.
I make this risotto to celebrate our Dungeness crab season, but you could use blue crabs in the East, Jonah or stone crabs — even snow or king crab meat. And yes, you can use crawfish or lobster, too.
You will need arborio, vialone nano, or carnaroli rice for this dish, and if you happen to have access to all three, go for the vialone nano — it’s the rice most Italian cooks use for a seafood or crab risotto. I’ve seen it in some supermarkets, and in most Italian groceries.
I urge you to make the seafood stock for the rice. It is a zillion times better than using store-bought stock, and it comes together pretty quickly. I feel so strongly about this that if you can’t make your own fish or seafood stock for this, I recommend chicken or vegetable stock, not a store-bought seafood stock — most are overly fishy.
As a side note, I have a pretty spectacular recipe for fish risotto that I cribbed from an Italian language cookbook from Venice, as well as a pretty shrimp risotto with saffron. Yeah, I make a lot of risotto…
- 2 cups risotto rice
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/3 cup Marsala or white wine
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 1-2 cups crab meat
- 5-7 cups crab stock, fish stock or vegetable stock
- Pour the stock into a pot and bring to a bare simmer.
- Heat the olive oil in another pot over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Add the garlic, rice and tomato paste and stir-fry them until the garlic just begins to brown.
- Pour in the Marsala and stir vigorously. It will combine with the tomato paste to make a thick slurry, so start pouring in your crab stock, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir well to combine.Sprinkle a little salt over everything now -- unless your stock is already salty.
- Stirring constantly, let the liquid evaporate. When the pot is nearly dry, add another half cup of hot stock. Keep doing this for about 15-20 minutes, until the rice is al dente.
- Once the rice is cooked, add a little more stock, the parsley and the crab meat and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low and stir until the crab is heated through. Serve at once.