September 10th, 2012
Just yesterday I was talking about big, bad corn. Now I’m sharing corn risotto. What gives?
It’s simple! Industrial corn grown to make high fructose corn syrup is not the same as the sweet corn you should be eating by the bushel right now.
* Packaged foods chock full of corn-derivitive fillers and HFCS = bad
* Ears of fresh corn = good, very good
Now that we’ve got that straight, let’s talk creamy corn risotto!
I’m on a kick to substitute veggies for carbs whenever possible. It started when I swapped pasta for zucchini ribbons, which gave me the idea to substitute corn kernels for rice in risotto.
The zucchini noodles were enough for me to ditch pasta all together, but you can’t take it quite that far with corn risotto. The slowly drawn out starch from rice is what gives risotto its luxurious texture. To rid risotto of rice all together is to make a version of creamed corn. Good, but not risotto. So instead of a full swap, I went heavy on the corn with just a little rice to lend its carbohydrate goodness.
This risotto is creamy and buttery, just as you’d expect, but with a little bite, the kind you can only get from corn fresh off the cob.
This is filling enough to serve on its own, or top it with poached shrimp and avocado lightly tossed with a tangy vinaigrette. The vinegar gives an otherwise sweet and mild dish a pop of flavor. I even included a tangle of quick pickled red onions for extra tang—totally worth it if you’ve got some time.
(can be shared with kids 6+ mos)*
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable broth, preferably corn stock
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups corn, freshly cut off of the cob (from 6 ears)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Freshly ground pepper
1. Heat stock to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to lowest setting, keeping the broth hot but making sure that it doesn’t cook off.
2. Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes.
3. Add rice, stirring to make sure that all of the grains get coated with oil/butter mixture, and cook until rice begins to turn translucent, another 2 minutes or so.
4. Add wine. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed.
5. Add corn; stir to coat and combine well with rice.
6. Begin adding broth 1/2 cup at a time. Stir constantly, waiting for each batch of broth to be about 3/4 absorbed before adding the next. (One way to tell if it’s time to add more broth: your spoon should leave a trail that holds for a moment as you drag it across the bottom of the pan.) Risotto is done when the rice is al dente—is should be cooked through but still be a little toothsome.
6. Turn off heat. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, grated Parmesan, salt and pepper.
To serve with shrimp and avocado. Poach shrimp: Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In the meantime, toss shrimp—however many you want to serve figured per person—with salt. Add shrimp to boiling water and cook until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove shrimp from hot water and place in ice bath until completely cooled. Drain, peel (tails included) and devein shrimp. Chop into bite size pieces and toss with cubed avocado, a very light drizzle of olive oil and a glug of red wine vinegar (add chopped quick pickled red onions, too, if you can). Gently toss and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pile a scoop of shrimp ‘salad’ onto of each bowl of risotto.
*Note: Corn risotto can easily be shared with kids 6+ months. Just puree or pulse into an age-appropraite consistency. You can add dressed or plain avocado, too. Shrimp can be shared with children 10+ months already safely managing finger foods, just be mindful that they are considered highly allergenic. Check out these guidelines on serving high-allergen foods to early eaters or speak to your pediatrician about what’s best for your child.