May 12, 2024

Sweet Corn Risotto

Hello Summer. Meet Risotto

Trust me when I say, don’t sleep on this risotto. While it may not seem as rich as my Lobster Risotto or even my Crab Risotto with a Garlic Beurre Blanc, this vegetable-forward risotto is just as indulgent. Celebrating the sweet flavor of fresh summertime corn, this corn risotto is sweet and slightly tangy, with just a touch of char. And before you turn away because of the perception that risotto is wildly difficult to make, fear not. As with all my other risotto recipes, this sweet ode to summer doesn’t require an arm workout and is surprisingly easy to make.

a bowl of sweet corn risotto topped with extra charred grilled corn and a knob of butter.

AN ODE TO CORN & SUMMER

This risotto celebrates corn in the best way, from grilling the kernels to infuse a smoky flavor, to using the cobs to impart their sweet flavor into the broth and ultimately the rice. With that said, this is an end-of-spring-into-summer recipe. Fresh corn is essential, and at least here in the US, that means summer. It’s crucial for certain dishes, particularly those that highlight vegetables, to be made with seasonal produce to ensure the best flavor. There’s something special about enjoying dishes when their key ingredients are at their peak freshness, and this is one of them.

a bowl of sweet corn risotto topped with extra charred grilled corn and a knob of butter.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR SWEET CORN RISOTTO

  • Arborio Rice- If you’ve tried any of my other risotto recipes, then you already know that you can’t just use any rice to make this dish. Different types of rice have varying starch levels, and risotto requires high-starch rice to achieve its iconic creamy texture. While Arborio is the most common variety and can be easily found in most mainstream chain supermarkets, if you want to elevate this dish even further, consider using Carnaroli rice. You can find Carnaroli rice online HERE.
  • Corn – Whole corn on the cob only! I’m usually all for frozen vegetables, but to get the most intense corn flavor, fresh corn is a must because you need the cob. Before discarding them, the cobs will be used to infuse the broth with sweet corn flavor, ensuring that every bite of this risotto bursts with the taste of corn, and isn’t that why we are all here.
  • Chicken Broth -Choose a flavorful chicken broth; I like to use Better than Bouillon to make mine. Not only does it have great flavor, but I also have control over the intensity. If you want to make this dish fully vegetarian, then swapping the chicken broth for vegetable broth is perfectly fine.
  • Shallot
  • Mascarpone Cheese – To finish off the dish with a tangy, creamy element, Mascarpone cheese is added here for flavor and texture, rather than solely for creaminess, which comes from the rice. Mascarpone cheese can typically be found near the ricotta and cream cheese section in most supermarkets. If you absolutely cannot find it, then you can substitute 1/4 cup of heavy cream, but you’ll be missing out on the tang, which provides a lovely contrast against the sweet corn flavor.
  • Butter – You can’t have corn without butter.

What!? No garlic and wine? NOPE. Despite popular beliefs, your risotto doesn’t actually need wine. While it adds great flavor to many risotto variations, this recipe is definitely one to leave it out. At the end of the day, we want this risotto to scream corn flavor, and ingredients like wine and garlic detract from that. Don’t worry, you won’t miss them.

TOOLS NEEDED

Wide Pan- The rice needs ample surface area to cook. A wide saute pan or even a braiser works for this dish. If you don’t have either a large skillet will also do.

HOW TO MAKE SWEET CORN RISOTTO

up close shot of creamy corn risotto.

Cook the Corn – There are two options for the corn:

  • Grill the Corn – The recommended option, especially if you are making this in the height of corn season a.k.a summer. Grill the corn out of the husk directly on the grill for 10-12 minutes. Keep in mind you don’t want to overcook the corn until it is dry and shriveled. Just cooked enough to get some char and flavor.
  • Boil the Corn – You can… however really recommend method 1, boil the corn for 5 minutes until it is cooked through.

Once cooked let the corn cool down for a few minutes before removing the kernels. You can remove the kernels one of 2 ways:

  • On a steady cutting board stand the corn up on the base of the cob. Carefully use a knife to cut downwards along the length of the cob. You want to cut deep enough to get the full kernel but not so deep that you start to cut off the tough cob.
  • OR funny enough, there’s actually a few tools that can easily remove the kernels. I use the OXO Corn Prep Peeler. It’s as easy as using a peeler, just be careful… it’s sharp. (affiliate link)

Both methods are about the same amount of work, with the peeler eliminating the guesswork on how deep to cut to avoid the core.

Prep the Broth – Place 6 cups of broth in a large saucepan. Strip the corn off the cob and place the kernels on the side. Throw the naked cobs into the broth with the lid on and simmer for 10 minutes. You will not need all 6 cups for this dish. Some of it will evaporate as you simmer the cobs, typically 1 cup of risotto needs approx. 4-5 cups of broth. It is always good to have extra on hand.

Sauté the Base – While the cobs are simmering in the broth, add 3 tbsp of butter to a wide pot or pan over low heat. Once melted add in the shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Toast the Risotto – Next, add the unwashed arborio (or Carnaroli) rice to the pan and toast for 3-4 minutes, until the grains start to become translucent.

Add the Broth – Strain and add the warm corn infused chicken broth to the risotto, but not all at once! For every cup of risotto, you need approx. 4- 5 cups of broth. Have extra on hand! I found with different brands of Arborio rice I needed + or – a cup. My rule of thumb is to pour just enough broth to cover the risotto, when the broth starts to dip below the grains it is time to add more.

Why do we strain the broth? While we want all that corn flavor we don’t want all the other bits that come with it. What I like to do is strain each ladle of broth, with a fine mesh strainer, as i add it to the risotto, leaving the cobs in the pot to infuse more flavor. If this is too much then strain the entire broth, removing the cobs.

This is also the place to season with salt. I leave this up to you. Depending on how salty your chicken broth is will determine how much salt you add. After the first broth add, taste it (avoiding the rice) and add. I usually give a heavy pinch in the beginning then right before it is done.

Mix, add, shake – Mix 2-3 times per broth add. If you end up mixing more, no big deal! Also give the pan a mix or a shake midway to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom. I typically mix once right after I add the broth and like 2-3 times a few minutes later. You will end up mixing more the further along the rice gets to make sure it doesn’t stick.

Add the Corn + Mascarpone – On the last broth addition, introduce the corn. When the risotto has absorbed the majority of this broth and is al dente (if it isn’t al dente yet, continue adding broth), turn off the heat. Fold in the mascarpone cheese and another tablespoon of butter. Serve immediately.

2 bowls of sweet corn risotto topped with extra charred grilled corn and a knob of butter.

STORING/REHEATING

Risotto needs to be eaten fresh, right out of the pan. Unfortunately, it won’t heat up as well as you would hope, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the fridge. When ready to heat place the risotto in a pan on low heat with a splash of broth to rehydrate. Leftover risotto is also great to use to make risotto balls or arancini.

Wan’t to make more risotto? You are in luck I have 12 other risotto recipes just as easy as this one.

Mushroom Parm Risotto // Kale & Pancetta Risotto
Lemon Parm Risotto // Cacio e Pepe Risotto
Spicy Vodka Risotto // Brown Butter & Sage Risotto
Creamy Tomato Risotto // Smoked Gouda Risotto
Lobster Risotto // French Onion Risotto
Risotto Carbonara // Crab Risotto

May 12, 2024

Sweet Corn Risotto

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Celebrating the sweet flavor of fresh summertime corn, this corn risotto is sweet and slightly tangy, with just a touch of char.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Corn Bread, Grilling, Risotto, Summer Recipes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

  • 3 large corn on the cob de-husked
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 4 tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • 4 tbsp butter seperated

Instructions

  • Preheat the grill to 450℉-500℉.
  • Place the corn directly on the grill, rotating it every few minutes to ensure even cooking. Close the lid between turns. Cook for 10 minutes or until the corn is tender but not shriveled. Remove the corn and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Once cooled remove the kernels from the cob.
  • Place 6 cups of broth in a large saucepan over medium heat. Throw the naked cobs into the broth with the lid on and simmer for 10 minutes. *For optimal corn flavor, keep the cobs in the broth throughout the entire risotto cooking time. You will need to strain the broth before adding it to the rice, but you can strain it as you go.
  • While the cobs are simmering in the broth, add 3 tbsp of butter to a wide pot or pan over low heat. Once melted add in the shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Next add the rice and toast for 3-4 minutes until the grains start to become translucent.
  • Add the first round of strained corn infused chicken broth. Depending on the pan add broth until it just covers the risotto. (could be 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups). Give it a quick mix, a shake of the pan to ensure all grains are covered and cook until rice absorbs the majority of the broth. Mix 2-3 times each round of broth. Don't worry if you mix more. It terms of salting, after the first round taste it (avoiding the rice), if it needs salt start with a heavy pinch (1/4 tsp) and go from there.
  • Add more broth and repeat above steps. This recipe calls between 4-5 cups of broth. If you notice that it is perfectly cooked at 4, don't add more. This part of the recipe really takes intuition and feeling, if the rice is still hard or hard for your liking then add more little by little.
  • On the last broth addition, introduce the corn. When the risotto has absorbed the majority of this broth and is al dente (if it isn't al dente yet, continue adding broth), turn off the heat. Fold in the mascarpone cheese and another tablespoon of butter. Serve immediately.

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