White Risotto with Corn, Carrots, and Kale

When we lived in New York City, we had a farmers' market half a block from our front steps. Every Wednesday, we'd stroll down the block with Greta and let her pick three vegetables for dinner that night. Her combinations were good challenges for my cooking muscle. When summer slipped into fall one cool morning, we brought home corn, kale, and young purple carrots, and this dish was born. Risotto is the ultimate comfort food--warm and filling--and when it comes right down to it, easier than most of us believe. Make this with your favorite vegetables in any season, adding more if you're a veggie-centric sort, or less if you want mostly soothing rice. The white risotto combo (onion, rice, white wine, Parm) is a classic and morphs readily to your whim.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cups (400 grams) Arborio rice

2/3 cup (160 milliliters) dry white wine

5 to 5 1/2 cups (1.2 to 1.3 liters) chicken or vegetable broth or water, warm

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick/56 grams) unsalted butter

1 bunch small heirloom carrots (about 6), trimmed and scrubbed, halved lengthwise

1/2 bunch (45 grams) Tuscan kale, larger leaves torn or cut into pieces (about 3 cups)

1 ear corn, kernels cut from the cob

1/2 cup (15 grams) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more coarsely grated for garnish

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Stir in the wine and cook until the wine has evaporated, 1 minute more.
  2. Stir in 2 cups (480 milliliters) of the warm broth and salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) of the broth and continue stirring, adding more broth 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) at a time, until the liquid has evaporated and the rice is al dente, 20 to 25 minutes. Most of the liquid should be absorbed and the rice just cooked, with about 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) broth remaining.
  3. While the rice cooks, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and brown slightly. Add 3 tablespoons water and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until just fork tender, but still deep in color, adding additional splashes of water to the pan as needed. Add the kale and stir to wilt, 5 minutes more. Add the corn and cook until the kernels turn bright yellow but are still crisp, 1 minute more. Season the vegetables well and use a slotted spoon to remove them from the liquid.
  4. Stir in another 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) broth to the risotto as needed; add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and the cheese and stir. Stir in the vegetables, or serve the risotto in bowls topped with the warm vegetables and coarsely grated Parmesan.
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