Corn Risotto

The beauty of risotto is its versatility. During the fall and winter, we make a version using roasted beets, or winter squash. In the spring, peas and asparagus with a squeeze of lemon does the trick. It can be made plain, or with any number of different vegetables, with chicken, seafood, beef, pork, lamb. Even the cheese is variable: goat, blue, cheddar, Parmigiano. You decide.

Risotto is the blank canvas of comfort food, simply awaiting your culinary whim.

Summer is typically the season of salads, grilled veggies, and the like, not the season of stirring the pot. However, as the nights get a little cooler, and while local corn is still sweet, corn risotto is worth the effort.

Making corn cob stock from the spent cobs is a little extra work (only a very little, though. it’s more about the time required to simmer the cobs and onion in water), though it adds another layer of corn sweetness to the dish, and for that alone, seems worth it.

If the stock work seems daunting, perhaps this is better thought of as a weekend dish, or, on a weeknight, use the stock simmer time to get your mise in place. If you’d prefer not to make your own stock, substitute purchased vegetable stock in its place.

As for that risotto versatility we’ve discussed, this corn risotto is excellent garnished with roasted tomatoes, pesto, green onions, or bacon, or a combination thereof. It makes a lovely bed for grilled chicken, shrimp, or steak, and its leftovers recently provided me the best lunch I’ve had in quite a while: risotto topped with sunny side up eggs and a little tomato confit.

We’ve yet to make arancini or risotto cakes with the leftovers, but the arancini are happening very soon with barbecued chicken and fried okra.

Corn season will soon come to an end here in New England. A very sad time indeed. Fortunately, we’ve got about 15 pounds of corn in the freezer, and corn cob stock frozen alongside the bags of corn.

Thank goodness, because even when our thoughts turn to beet and Gorgonzola risotto, it’s nice to know that we can have another taste of late summer if we need it.

Corn Risotto

Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled, trimmed, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups warm corn cob stock (see recipe below) or vegetable stock
  • corn kernels cut from 2 medium ears of corn (approximately 1 cup of corn)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino-Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Optional garnishes:
  • slow-roasted tomatoes or tomato confit
  • pesto or basil chiffonade
  • bacon
  • green onions
  • For the corn stock:
  • 2 corn cobs (from which the corn kernels came)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, peeled, trimmed, and quartered
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups water


  1. Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the shallot to the pot, and cook until the shallot is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Pour in the rice, stirring well to coat it with the melted butter, then cook for 1 to 2 minutes in order to heat the rice through, stirring frequently.
  3. Pour the white wine into the pot, and stir frequently until the wine has been absorbed by the rice.
  4. Add a cup of corn cob stock, stirring the rice frequently until all of the stock has been absorbed, then add 3 additional cups, one at a time, allowing each cup to be absorbed almost completely before making the next addition of stock. Oh, and keep on stirring.
  5. When the third cup of stock is added to the pot, also add the corn and stir it into the rice. Each time I add the corn, I think it looks like too much corn, but in the end, it's an amount that works for our tastes. Given that risotto is your blank canvas, feel free to adjust the amount of corn as needed.
  6. Taste test the rice after the 4th cup of stock has been added to see if it is done to your liking. If not, add additional stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until the rice is ready.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the Pecorino-Romano, then stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Let the risotto stand for a few minutes, then serve it forth.
  8. To make the corn stock:
  9. Place the corn cobs, onion, and thyme in a medium stockpot. Cover with the water, add the salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover (tightly. we don't want too much evaporation during the process), and let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Allow the stock to cool slightly, strain the stock through a mesh sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth to remove all of the solids, then use away in your corn risotto, or corn chowder, or any other dish to which you'd like to add a hint of sweet corn flavor.

Corn risotto with grilled shrimp and tomato confit

5 Comments to Corn Risotto

  1. Angry Asian says:

    beautiful. i’ve never heard of corn cob stock before, it’s rather genius as i have thought fleetingly of how wasteful it is to chuck the cob when im done with it.

    this may be a weird question, but, are cobs already cooked or are they raw when you make the stock?

    • Amy McCoy says:

      Hi Lan! I had always had the same thought (though now the pigs can take care of any spare cobs we have). Earlier this summer, I was cutting corn off of the ears for corn chowder and thought, “perhaps I should use these for the stock for the corn chowder.” And then the addiction began.

      Totally not a weird question at all. The cobs are raw, I usually snap them in half after removing the stem end so that they’ll fit in the pot I use. I’ve also made stock with celery in the mix, but because I often don’t have celery on hand in the summertime, I’ve been making it more frequently with just the onion. It’s darned good either way! Enjoy!

  2. Eileen says:

    Corn is one of my favorite vegetables to put in risotto! Love the grilled shrimp–I bet the sweetness matches the mellow corn perfectly. :)

  3. Nilotic Diva says:

    My million dollar question is how did you make your tomato confit? It looks so good. It would be a excellent way to do something with my extra tomatoes. Also how long is the shelf life, can you freeze it?

    • Amy McCoy says:

      Hi Nilotic Diva! It’s really a great way to use up the glut of tomatoes! I’ll post more detail about tomato confit this upcoming week, but the Cliff’s Notes version is: 12 roma tomatoes, peeled and halved, placed cut side up on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 2/3 cup olive oil, roast for 5 hours at 225F/105C. Store tomatoes with the oil they were cooked with for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. I haven’t frozen them ever because each batch gets eaten pretty quickly here, but it’s worth trying if you cover them in oil (figuring it’s along the lines of freezing pesto). If you do freeze your tomato confit, please let me know how it goes! Enjoy!

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