Port Isaac lobster risotto with orange and basil

Port Isaac lobster risotto with orange and basil

British Seafood
David Loftus

I devised this dish when I opened my first restaurant, as a way of serving the amazing local lobster without putting whole lobsters on the menu, which would have been too expensive for me at the time. For the risotto, I use vegetable stock rather than a stock made from the lobster shells, as it lends a more subtle taste, allowing the flavour of the lobster meat to really shine through.


Quantity Ingredient
2 live lobsters, placed in the freezer 30 minutes before cooking
2 litres Vegetable stock
50ml olive oil
100g unsalted butter
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
200g carnaroli risotto rice
8 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
100g parmesan, grated
12 large basil leaves, finely shredded
1 orange, peel and pith removed, segmented and chopped
cornish sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil over a high heat. Once the water is boiling, quickly take the lobsters from the freezer, place on a board and firmly insert the tip of your knife into the cross on the head to kill each one instantly. Plunge the lobsters straight into the boiling water and cook them for 8 minutes. Remove from the water and place on a tray to cool down. When cool enough to handle, carefully extract the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Before you start the risotto, chop the lobster meat into equal sized pieces, aiming to get about 20 pieces from each lobster.
  3. To make the risotto, bring the vegetable stock to the boil in a pan and keep it at a gentle simmer. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil and half of the butter. When the butter is bubbling, add the onions and garlic and cook for 1 minute, without colouring. Next add the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring all the time. Now add the vegetable stock to the rice a ladleful at a time, stirring and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next. Cook the rice in this way for 14 minutes or until it is al dente and you have a creamy looking risotto.
  4. Now turn the heat down to its lowest setting. Add the chopped lobster and spring onions to the rice and cook for 1 minute. Then add the Parmesan, remaining butter (in pieces) and the basil. Warm gently for 2 minutes, stirring all the time. Finally add the chopped orange and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve straight away.
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