Risotto with Corn
Here’s another great dish we cooked at Blackfish for our cooking class. I was busy with my Molten Chocolate Cakes so I didn’t spend any time preparing it, but it was one of the best risottos I’ve ever tasted. Absolutely delicious. And yes, I know my photograph isn’t very good but I’m working at it.
Chef Jeff Power’s secret is to cook the corn separately from the rest of the dish and add it back to the risotto just as it finishes cooking. I’m not sure why but I’ll have to ask him.
A quick tip for removing the corn kernels is to cut each ear of corn in half so you have a flat, solid surface at the bottom to prevent the ear from slipping while cutting.
Although Arborio is the most popular rice for making risotto, it is not the only one. The top of the line Italian risotto rice and most difficult to find is Carnaroli. When I lived in Park City, Utah, my friend who owned a gourmet store turned me on to Fior di Riso, a superfino carnaroli. It has a super flavorful, large, plump grain that is incredible.
Fresh Corn Risotto Recipe
6 ears of fresh corn - peeled and kernels removed
2 cups of Arborio rice
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 fresh bay leaf
3 tablespoons minced garlic 1 cup of onion - minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ pound butter
½ cup Parmesan cheese - grated
¼ cup fresh herbs - chopped (this can be whatever is fresh and local at the time)
How To Prepare At Home
Cooking the Corn
Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes and then add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Then add the corn kernels and season with salt and pepper. Sauté the corn for 2 to 3 minutes and then remove from heat and reserve for later.
Preparing the Risotto
In a medium sized saucepot, bring the chicken stock to a simmer. While the stock is heating up, heat up yet another pan big enough to cook the risotto. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil and sweat the onion and garlic until translucent.
Sweating vegetables is the term cooks use to describe cooking vegetables with very little oil over low heat so they don't brown. You want the vegetables tender without giving them any color. At the same time, you want the vegetables to release their liquids (flavor) into the surrounding liquids. You usually cover the pan to contain the wonderful aroma and moisture.
Add the Arborio rice and cook for a few minutes until opaque. Carefully deglaze the pan with white wine. I usually remove the pan from the heat to prevent a flame up. Cook until most of the wine is cooked off or absorbed into the rice.
Now add 1/3 of the hot chicken stock and stir continuously over medium heat. When most of the stock is absorbed into the rice, add another 1/3 of the chicken stock. Repeat until all the stock is absorbed into the rice or until it is cooked al dente.
Al dente means the rice or pasta is cooked but still has some bite to it. It shouldn't be soft or mushy when over cooked and you shouldn't break a tooth because it is undercooked. It should provide a little bit of resistance when biting into it.
You will know the risotto is perfectly cooked when it has a smooth, creamy texture but still has body. At this point you can finish the risotto with butter, Parmesan, fresh herbs and the sautéed corn.
Season with salt and pepper and serve. Chef Power used sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. You would be surprised by the amount of salt professional chefs use when cooking. Chef Power had a small bowl of sea salt that he grabbed liberal amounts from to season his dishes but in the end, I didn't find anything we prepared too salty.
The freshly ground white pepper was incredible. It had a much different fragrance than most ground peppers I've tried. I will have to ask him what type he likes to cook with.
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