Sweet Corn Risotto with Herbes de Provence
- 5 cups Rich Chicken Stock or store-bought low-sodium stock
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (or Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
- 3/4 cup fresh corn (see note, page 53) or frozen, thawed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence (see note)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Cook the scallions, stirring, just until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the rice, stirring slowly and continuously with a wooden spoon until the grains are opaque and coated in the oil, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and pour in the wine. Cook and stir until all the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Don't let the rice brown.
Ladle in about 1 cup of the warm stock and stir with a wooden spoon until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, about 6 minutes. When almost all the liquid is gone, ladle in another 1/2 cup stock. Keep stirring and adding the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more. After the rice has absorbed 2 1/2 cups stock, taste it. The rice should be firm to the bite but creamy. If it is hard, continue to add stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until the rice tastes perfect to you. (You may not need all of the stock.)
Stir in the corn and reduce the heat to very low so the risotto stops simmering. Stir in the butter, cheese, and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
This risotto, studded with golden kernels of corn, shows that experimenting can pay off. I had extra fresh corn one night, so I sliced off some kernels and tossed them into the rice. Corn and risotto may seem like a strange pair, but once you taste this, you'll love it.
Making risotto is one of the calmest activities you can do in the kitchen. There's something about stirring and ladling in hot broth that is very satisfying. The key to fine, creamy risotto is tasting the rice when it seems close to being done and taking the pot off the heat as soon as the texture is right so that the rice doesn't become mushy. Have the corn, butter, cheese, and herbs beside the stove so you can add them right away. This is the time to use best-quality ingredients: homemade stock, fresh corn, and true Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
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