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.