This is a perfect summer side dish to accompany fish or chicken. I love to add a bunch of fresh herbs at the end. I used basil and chives, but you could choose whichever herbs you prefer. Risotto takes a little extra time at the stove, but the gradual stirring process helps release the natural starch in the rice and works so well with the corn and zucchini, so it is effort well spent! You can use a grill to char your corn, or a simple nonstick grill pan over the stove… I also added a little parmesan at the end, but this is an optional ingredient. The risotto is a wonderful way to enjoy summer vegetables and flavors.
Serves 4-6, as side dish
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 2 finely chopped shallots
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 ears fresh corn, husked
- about 4-5 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1-2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise, sliced about 1/4″ thick
- 1/4 grated parmesan (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch herbs of your choice, chives, basil, parsley or blend of your favorites
In a large non-stick grill skillet, heat the pan on medium-low. Place corn ears on the pan and season lightly with salt and pepper. Rotate the corn ears every few minutes until you see the corn getting charred in spots. This process takes about 10 minutes. Once charred and yellow kernels remaining kernels are bright and vibrant, remove corn and set aside. Add the additional tablespoon of oil to your pan, and lay zucchini slices in pan, turning once and seasoning with a bit of salt and pepper (about 2 minutes a side). Remove from heat and set aside. Once corn is cooled, using a sharp knife, remove corn kernels from the husk, reserving some large pieces if possible.
While vegetables are grilling, you can start your risotto by heating the butter and adding the shallots to a medium stock pot (I love my le creuset enamel pot for this use). Sauté on low heat until fragrant (2 minutes). Add rice to the pot stirring constantly to coat the rice grains. Add wine to the rice and stir until absorbed. Continue adding the stock or water to the pot about 1/2 a cup at time until liquid is absorbed, repeating this process stirring frequently so risotto doesn’t stick to the bottom and adding liquid as needed. After about 10 minutes, add the frozen corn and continue to stir along with liquid. After about 20 minutes, the risotto should be al dente. Add a bit more liquid, remove from heat and cover for about 5 minutes. The timing will depend a bit on how hot your flame is. Test the risotto for doneness, stir in a bit of extra stock if needed and carefully stir in reserved corn and zucchini, along with parmesan if using. Just before serving, add fresh herbs and enjoy immediately!