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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Corn Risotto

In my region, we are just about done with corn-on-the cob season; darn it. This is the last thing I made with fresh corn. I think it could be made with a high quality frozen corn, but I haven't done it so I can't be sure. I imagine that some of the nice crunch from fresh corn would be lost.

This would probably be prettier with yellow corn rather than white.

Corn Risotto

Most recipes for risotto, including this one require a lot of attention while stirring in the small increments of liquid. Cook's Illustrated Magazine has a technique for avoiding the more labor intensive method. Check it out.

Source: The New York Times
Serves: 4-6

This recipe calls for making a stock out of the corn cobs which might seem like it would take too long. However, when I made it the stock simmered away as I gathered ingredients and prepped before beginning. I felt the extra effort worthwhile since the homemade stock intensifies the corn flavor. If you prefer to streamline, low-sodium chicken broth would taste great, too.

For the stock:

2 corn cobs (kernels cut off and saved for risotto)
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 celery rib, cut into 1-inch pieces
Dark green leaves from 1 leek (save the white and light green)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teas salt
1 teas whole black peppercorns
6 c water

Combine all ingredients with water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cover; let cook for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh  strainer. Add enough water to bring liquid back to 6 cups. Keep warm.

For the risotto:

2 T unsalted butter
1 leek, white and light green parts, rinsed and finely chopped
1 teas kosher salt or 3/4 teas table salt
1/4 teas pepper, freshly ground if you have it
1 c arborio rice, worth looking for because other rices just aren't starchy enough
1/2 c dry white wine (see note)
6 cups hot corn stock or chicken stock
1 1/2 c raw corn kernels (cut from approximately 2 years of corn)
1 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c heavy cream
2 T minced chives (optional)
2 T basil, cut in very thin strips, (or chiffonade)

Melt 1 T butter in a saute pan or large saucepan over medium low-heat. Add leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned. Add salt and pepper. Stir in rice and cook while stirring, until grains look slightly translucent.

Pour in the wine and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed, a couple of minutes.

Add a 1/2-3/4 c (or a ladle full) of hot stock to the rice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Continue cooking while stirring continuously, adding another portion of stock whenever the risotto looks dry. When half the stock has been added, stir in the corn. (If you use frozen corn, you may want to wait until 3/4 of the stock has been added.) Continue cooking until all of the stock has been incorporated and corn is tender. The rice should be creamy and tender with a little resistance to the bite.

Turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan and remaining tablespoon of butter. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. If it has thickened, you can add a small amount of hot water or stock to loosen it.

Whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks. Stir the risotto and adjust seasoning if needed. Immediately before serving, stir in the chives, if using, then gently fold in the cream. (To tell the truth, I'm not sure what purpose is served by whipping the cream before stirring it in. I predict that stirring in liquid cream would be just as tasty a bit faster. Serve topped with basil.

Note: If you prefer to keep your cooking alcohol free, make a substitute such as this: mix 3 parts white grape juice with 1 part white wine vinegar. Of the various suggestions, I believe this sounds best.


  1. When we get together(don't know when that will be...), let's figure out a yummy dessert/mousse using the hot chocolate balls as a base.

    1. Great idea. I hope it won't be too long until we can spend some time together. Have fun in the meantime!