I can’t even begin to tell you how much sweet corn I’ve eaten this summer. I’m positive it’s more than a gunnysack full; at least in my mind.
Ears of golden yellow and honeyed white corn have been roasted on the grill until kernels pop, sliced off the cob and eaten raw, and boiled in pots of salted water.
Growing up, my paternal grandparents grew what I determined was a colossal garden. I was little so the perspective might be skewed, but when I see that same plot as an adult, it’s still enormous. I remember rows of corn towering overhead; it made a small girl feel like she was walking in a land of giants that wore silky tassels. One couldn’t ask for fresher picking than that.
My community garden plot is not nearly large enough to grow stalks of corn, but my farmer’s market brings in fresh picked cobs from a local field. The husks are green and supple, with silks that are soft and milky colored. I’m not one of those who feel the need to pull the husks back. Once the kernels are exposed, they begin to lose an element of juicy sweetness. I check the husks and silks for freshness and feel the ears for fullness. Every once in a while I discover a cob that is underdeveloped, but not often. I think the market appreciates this too; less waste and mess for them.
I don’t tire of feasting on unadulterated corn; however, the toasted lovelies are fabulous slipped into cornbread muffins, pasta dishes or salads. Last week, they marvelously meandered into pot of risotto.
My stash of clipped and pinned recipes includes several risottos that have corn. One that is particularly adored involves the likes of sweet red peppers and tiny spears of asparagus; this one included neither of those ingredients, but instead was full of corn-focused goodness.
This recipe is attributed to The Kitchn, a favorite. I mixed up the recipe a tad to suit what I had on hand, and the fact that it was weeknight, after work and I was starving.
Sweet Corn Risotto – Serves 4
- 3 medium ears corn, shucked (substitution: I roasted the corn on a sheet pan)
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, store-bought or homemade (substitution: store-bought vegetable broth)
- 1 large leek, white and light green parts chopped and rinsed (substitution: a whole bunch of fat scallions)
- 1 1/4 cups arborio rice
- 1/4 cup dry vermouth (substitution: Sauvignon Blanc)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Cut the corn from the cobs. Place the stock and stripped corn cobs in a pot over high heat (break the cobs in half if needed). Note: I skipped this step, but can only imagine how much increased corn flavor one would get. Once the broth comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the cobs, scraping along the length of the cobs with a spoon or spatula to remove any extra liquid.
- Coat the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed pot with olive oil and place over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the leek and a pinch of salt, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the vermouth and stir until almost full evaporated, 1 minute.
- Add a ladle of stock to the rice. Stirring often, continue adding stock as the rice absorbs each addition, until the mixture is creamy and the rice is cooked through but still firm (al dente), about 30 minutes. Stir in the butter, cheese, and corn kernels. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve warm.
Recipe Notes: If you run out of stock before the risotto is done, warm a little water to use for your final addition. Also, you’ll see some of the substitutions that I made along the way, but not to be left out is the delectable, salty addition of torn prosciutto.
Happy creamy, luscious risotto eating!