Luxurious crab-flecked risotto is equally fitting for an elegant dinner party as it is for a weeknight dinner. The addition of Meyer lemon adds a bright note to the sweet crab, but you can substitute regular lemon. Fresh pea shoots add freshness and are worth seeking, but microgreens or even baby arugula are nice additions as well. Serve this with roasted or steamed asparagus.
- 2 Dungeness crab clusters, thawed
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, plus more for garnish
- 1 Meyer lemon, halved crosswise
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup fresh pea shoots or microgreens
Make a stock
Remove the meat from the Dungeness crab clusters and refrigerate until ready to use (you should have about 1 cup). In a medium saucepan, add the crab shells, peppercorns, bay leaf, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until fragrant, about 15 minutes. Strain crab stock through a fine mesh strainer then return to the saucepan over low heat to keep warm. You should have about 4 1/2 cups stock.
Make the risotto
In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the rice, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Pour the wine into the pan to deglaze, scraping up any bits. Stir continuously until the wine is absorbed. Add 1 cup of the warm stock and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time and stirring constantly, until it is nearly absorbed between additions. The risotto is done when the rice is tender and creamy but still has a bit of a bite, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the cheese, chives, and the juice of ½ lemon. Season with salt and pepper.
Warm the crab
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the crab meat, season with salt and pepper, and cook, gently turning and trying not to break up the meat too much, until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Set aside a third of the biggest chunks of crab meat, then gently stir the remaining crab into the risotto.
Cut the remaining lemon half into 4 wedges. Divide the risotto between 4 shallow bowls. Top immediately with the pea shoots, dividing evenly, then top with the reserved crab. Garnish with chives and serve at once with lemon wedges.
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Pair it Up
With geographical influence from both the sea and mountains, an Italian rosé from Le Marche or Friuli echoes the fresh and salty flavors in this rich, crab-studded risotto.
Know Your Cook
Kim Laidlaw is the owner of Cast Iron Media, LLC and an award-winning cookbook editor, author, and recipe developer. Her cookbooks include Everyday Slow Cooking, Quick Slow Cooking, Home Baked Comfort, Dessert of the Day, the IACP award-nominated Baby & Toddler on the Go, and Five Mary’s Ranch Raised Cookbook, which she co-authored. She works with clients from Kendall Jackson WInery to Top Chef Tanya Holland. She’s a graduate of the California Culinary Academy, former instructor at the acclaimed San Francisco Cooking School, and former baker at La Farine French Bakery in Oakland, California. Kim lives in Petaluma, California with her Scottish husband, their always-entertaining daughter, and a bountiful home garden.