Making a special dinner at home — especially one you’ve never prepared before — is a great way to spend some more meaningful time with your beloved this Valentine’s Day. It makes for great memories and to top it off, you will also save money and avoid the restaurant crowds!
When I think of a decadent, rich, exotic, restaurant-like meal that can be prepared easily at home, I think of risotto. If you haven’t done it before, making risotto can be intimidating because of the amount of stirring you’re told it requires. Now, from my experience, constant stirring is not necessarily required, and occasional stirring seems to do. Either way, I don’t mind the extra stirring on cold winter night because standing over the pot, stirring and adding warm broth really warms me to the core. Being rewarded with a rich, homemade meal that pairs well with wine definitely makes it worth it.
This Valentine’s Day, stay in, and try making this luscious Lobster and Tarragon Risotto. Notice that I left the garlic out for obvious reasons, but if you would like it add 2 cloves minced garlic about 1 minute before adding the rice. Serve the risotto with a side salad or a steamed green vegetable such as broccoli, asparagus or green beans to make it a complete meal.
Lobster and Tarragon Risotto
Recipe by Lauren Larson, MS, RDN
Makes 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
8-12 ounces lobster tails (if using frozen lobster tails, defrost them in advance)
3 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine (or more broth)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Prepare lobster tails (I used these instructions). Once prepped, drizzle with 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake 18-22 minutes (or according to other instructions based on weight).
- Remove from oven, let cool, remove from shell, chop and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat broth in a medium saucepan until just boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and keep warm.
- Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot is translucent and tender; about 3 minutes.
- Add rice and cook until separated, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add wine and cook, stirring almost constantly, until just absorbed.
- Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup warm broth and cook, stirring frequently, until just absorbed. Continue adding broth in this fashion until you have about 1 cup left; about 20 minutes.
- Taste the rice to see if it is tender. If not, continue adding broth as above until rice is tender.
- When rice is tender, add chopped lobster and a little bit more broth, and cook until heated through.
- Remove from heat, stir in parmesan cheese and remaining tablespoon melted butter. Add a bit more broth if it seems too thick. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in tarragon and remaining tablespoon of lemon juice. Serve topped with fresh cracked black pepper.
Since Valentine’s Day dinner wouldn’t be complete without dessert, these ice cream or gelato floats are a fun spin on a root beer float. They are the perfect way to top off this delicious meal.
Blueberry Pomegranate Ice Cream Floats
Recipe by Lauren Larson, MS, RDN
1 cup vanilla ice cream or gelato
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
12 ounces pomegranate sparkling juice
- Divide ice cream or gelato into two frosty glasses.
- Top with blueberries.
- Slowly pour pomegranate sparkling juice over ice cream and berries.
- Serve with a straw and a spoon.