Sunday, March 11, 2007

Corn Risotto

Risotto is NOT hard.. I don't know how that myth got started. The only 'hard' part is getting your hands on Italian Aborio rice. Oh, and you have to constantly stir the rice, but that is not difficult and creates such a creamy, delicate, flavorful rice dish that it's worth it. I should have waited to make this until corn and chives were in season, but the warmer weather here in Illinois made me anxious for a taste of July. Adapted from Williams-Sonoma's recipe files.

Serves 2-3
35 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and simple

1 medium white onion, chopped
large handful of fresh chives -OR- 5-8 green onions, using the green leaves only
1/2 -3/4 c. uncooked white Italian Aborio* or Carnaroli rice <---- MUST use Italian rice! Normal domestic long-grain white rice just won't cut it (sorry!).
2+ tbsp. olive oil
1 14 oz can Swanson chicken or vegetable broth
1-2 ears fresh summer sweet corn -OR- one 15 oz can whole kernel yellow corn*, halved
Parmesan cheese, for topping (optional)
*I used Lundberg California Aborio rice. It is delicious and for sure GF. Del Monte canned Sweet golden corn is GF.

1. Wash off white onion. Chop into small-ish pieces, but not diced. Also wash off chives/green onions and chop into 1/2 inch long sections. Just use the dark green leaves off the green onions. Set chives/green onions aside. If you are lucky enough to have fresh sweet corn, peel and remove the husks and silk, but leave the long stem at the bottom.. it helps you cut off the kernels.
2. Place Italian rice and chopped white onion into large saucepan. Pour 2 tbsp. olive oil over rice and onion; stir to coat.
3. Set burner onto "medium" heat and begin to saute rice and onion. You will see the starchy, fat rice grains begin to soak up oil and become translucent on the edges (there will be a white 'dot' remaining in the middle of each grain). Saute in oil until the onions also become translucent and the rice grains slightly turn golden-- around 5 minutes.
4. Open up broth and pour about 1/4th of the can over the cooking rice (about 1/4th cup each time). Turn the heat up to medium-high. Continue stirring the rice while the broth boils and thickens.
5. Add in more broth before the rice soaks up all the liquid, always stirring and boiling. Continue to pour in more of your broth (bit by bit), and cook the rice. By the 15 minute mark, all the broth should be in the saucepan.
6. Now add in the chopped chives/green onions and sweet corn-- if using the canned corn, drain kernels then pour in a little over HALF of what's in the can. If using fresh corn, hold onto the stems, and cut off the kernels right into the saucepan.
7. Continue cooking the corn/rice/chives mixture for an additional 5 minutes. The corn should be fully heated through (tender) and chives wilted. However, the rice should still be creamy. If you wish, top with some grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy with meat of any kind.

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