Sweet Corn Risotto with Tomato and Basil

Sweet Corn Risotto with Tomato and Basil

Trips to the local market in August are an adventure for the senses! Tables, bins and baskets filled with an abundance of fresh new local vegetables and fruits offer arrays of vivid colors and pleasing shapes for the eyes, ripe scents for the nose, and textures and weights for the sense of touch. Of course, all these are an invitation to the cook to bring the vibrant flavors of fresh local produce to the mouth!

The dilemma I face at the market in the summer is hardly one of scarcity but of over-abundance. There is so much to choose from that I can't bring some of everything home (at least not all at once), so these trips are really as much an exercise in delayed gratification as in anticipation. But one thing I can hardly ever resist is the local peaches and cream corn — sweet, fragrant and colorful, it's an exceptional eating corn and a simple but delicious treat just on its own with only a little butter and salt.

Like all exceptional foods, local sweet corn is best paired with only a handful of other simple but elegant flavors. This time I prepared a simple risotto simmered in a stock made from the cobs of the corn, with the fresh and lightly cooked kernels mixed in at the end along with some fresh tomato and basil from my garden and some good quality Parmesan cheese. A few jalapeños from the garden added a nice little kick.

This warm creamy risotto has a wonderful aroma and lovely contrasts in color and texture — just like a trip to the market, it's an irresistible invitation to please the mouth. A perfect summer risotto!

If you don't have fresh corn on the cob, frozen corn can be used in its place — just substitute 4 1/2 cups of vegetable stock for the corn stock.

Sweet Corn Risotto with Tomato and BasilSweet Corn Risotto with Tomato and Basil
Recipe by
Cuisine: Italian
Published on September 5, 2012

Simple, colorful and delicious sweet corn risotto with tomato and basil simmered in a corn stock made from the cobs of the corn

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  • 2 ears fresh sweet corn (or 1 1/2 cups frozen)
  • 2 cubes vegetable bouillon (salt-free and gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 jalapeños, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup arborio or other risotto rice
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • Husk the corn and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the ears for 2 to 3 minutes or just until the kernels are a bright yellow. Remove the ears of corn and pare the kernels from the cobs. Return the cobs to the water, lower the heat to medium, and simmer for at least 5 minutes or up to half an hour.

  • Discard the cobs and strain 4 1/2 cups of the corn stock into a medium saucepan. Add the bouillon cubes and bring to a good simmer over medium-low heat.

  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, toss in the onion and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions start to turn translucent. Add the jalapeños if using and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.

  • Add the rice and stir gently to coat the grains with oil. Add 1 cup of the corn and bouillon stock and stir until the liquid is just absorbed. Continue adding the stock to the rice one ladleful at a time, stirring and waiting each time until the stock has been absorbed before adding the next.

  • Continue this process until 3/4 of the stock has been used up. At this point taste the rice and check to see if it is cooked to your preferred texture — the risotto should be soft, creamy and cooked throughout while holding its shape. You will probably need to add more stock at this point, but you may not want to use all the stock if you prefer your risottos more on the al dente side. Continue adding stock to the rice until you reach the consistency you like.

  • With the last ladle of stock, add the corn, tomato, Parmesan and basil and season with salt and pepper. Gently stir to combine and remove from heat when most of the last ladle of stock has been absorbed.

  • Serve right away, garnished with additional basil or diced tomato if desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
sweet corn risotto

Other risotto ideas from my kitchen:
Spicy Azuki Bean Risotto
Lemon Risotto with Leeks and Mushrooms
Green Bean and Borlotti Bean Risotto
Baked Mushroom Risotto

On the top of the reading stack: Vegan For the Holidays: Celebration Feasts for Thanksgiving through New Year's Day by Zel Allen

Audio Accompaniment: Marko Fürstenberg - Clubberia Podcast 28.5.2010


Indian Khana said...

Looks yum ..nice combo

AJ said...

That looks yumm!!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I could really get into this combination Lisa. Corn is in season.