Tag Archives: Risotto

Lobster orzotto

When Sam was a kid, he spent summers at his grandparents’ house in Maine. It was there that he got well and truly schooled in the art of eating lobster: the cracking of the shell, the careful extraction of the meat, the gentle dunk in a sunny pool of butter. His eyes still shine when he talks about it.

But we don’t live in Maine.  Sam doesn’t often get to eat lobster anymore.  Except on special occasions, like, whatever’s happening tomorrow.

It’s not really a surprise that lobster shows up often around Valentine’s Day. It’s the kind of sweet, succulent indulgence most of us only get very rarely, if at all. And very little needs to be done to it to make it sparkle.

So, in honor of my lobster-loving boyfriend, here’s a nifty twist I came up with on a classic special-occasion splurge: lobster “risotto” made with orzo pasta and lots of champagne.

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So apparently I’m 2-for-2 on delicious gluten-free Passover dishes that might not actually be kosher for Passover.  But nevermind that.  Let’s talk about quinoa.

I’ve been vowing for years to get more quinoa in my diet.  If all those breathless news articles are to be believed, it’s a new superfood.  It’s exotic–all the way from Peru!  It’s ancient–the Inca ate it!  It’s full of protein and wholesome whole-grain goodness!  What’s not to like!

I’ve been making tentative progress.  In college, I would mix red quinoa and ranch dressing into a bowl of mashed potatoes.  Somehow I managed to convince myself that the little extra protein boost from those little scarlet orbs canceled out the giant gummy forkfuls of potato I was stuffing into my face.  As I got more, um…sophisticated, I started encountering quinoa salads, pleasant little pops of grain swarming around beans and green vegetables and even tofu, overwhelming me with texture and freshness and wholesome earnest appeal.

But on its own, as a stand-in for less virtuous starches, quinoa was…lacking.  I’ve never been much a fan of food that pretends to be something it’s not, and when I was faced with tiny hardy orbs, heaped sheepishly in a bowl, almost apologetic for not being rice or couscous, I was understandably nonplussed.

Stand alone, I silently implored the quinoa.  Make something of yourself.  Don’t be shy.

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