Saturday December 26, 2009
Well, I made it....the cooking and eating frenzy of the past 2-3 days is over for now. I reflect on all the food my Nana used to make from the scores of baked goods to the multiple course dinners. As you already know I am half Italian and those are the traditions that I carry forward. As a young girl, I remembered my grandfather bringing home the salt cod and soaking it for what seemed like days, resulting in bacala (baacaaala as they pronounced it). And let me tell you, it was gross. As an adult, I still can't seem to stomach it. So sadly, those memories will only reside with me...although, I think there is a salt cod story to be told. My Nana also made stuffed calamari in "gravy" (code for "tomato sauce" in Italian-American households) and served over spaghetti. Add fried scallops, flounder, shrimp cocktail and I am sure some other fishes. This was the Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Now that I am the lucky hostess for my family and friends, I can only take the feast so far, as I think it's important to enjoy what you eat.
So I decided to make a lobster risotto and fried calamari with a caesar salad to celebrate Christmas Eve. We had 14 people in total - it was simply lovely!!
2-3 1.5 pound lobsters (have them steamed at the fish counter to save you a step)
7 cups chicken broth (heated)
1 stick butter
1 cup of shallots or onions
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
1 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon freshly chopped thyme
1/4 teaspoon of fresh pepper
Remove meat from lobster, cut into bite-sized pieces.
Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, add shallots and cook until tender. Stir in rice and stir until coated with oil about 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir until the wine is cooked off and absorbed. Add the broth one ladle at time, stirring constantly until the broth is absorbed. (My Mom's hint: It's time to add more broth when your spoon creates a track in the rice.) Continue adding broth until rice is fluffy, tender and creamy. Next add the parmesan, lemon juice, pepper and thyme. And finally, add the lobster until warm. Enjoy!! This will serve 6-8 people.