Risotto with Fresh Corn and Basil Oil
Corn lovers eagerly anticipate its arrival at markets during the summer. Purists insist on cooking corn on the cob only until warmed through, either boiled or steamed, to preserve its sweetness and crunch. Cut from the cob, the fresh kernels are added raw to this creamy risotto, which cooks the corn in its gentle heat. A drizzle of basil oil provides a distinctive finish.
- 1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) chopped fresh basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 cups (40 fl. oz./1.25 l) chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 cup (3 oz./90 g) thinly sliced leeks, white and pale green parts
- 1 1/2 cups (10 oz./315 g) Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- Kernels from 2 or 3 ears of corn
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh chives
In a blender, combine the chopped basil and olive oil and process until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
In a saucepan, bring the broth to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and maintain a simmer.
In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks, stir to coat, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium, add the rice and stir until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the simmering broth a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the broth is almost completely absorbed (but the rice is never dry on top) before adding the next ladleful. After 10 minutes, stir in the corn. After about 20 minutes, the rice should be tender to the bite and creamy. If you need more liquid, use hot water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from the heat and stir in the chives and 2 Tbs. of the basil oil. Divide among bowls, drizzle with more basil oil, garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2012)