We were hit by a cold snap this week! 56 degrees in the middle of August had me reaching for my black fleece (let’s get #blackfleece to trend this fall!!) and dressing Lincoln in jeans for the first time in months. He was so confused and kept pulling on the legs every couple of minutes like, what in the heck is this wretched stuff stuck to my skin? It was so sad yet hilarious at the same time!
Maybe you had to be there.
Anyway, my Instagram feed has been filled with bubbling pots of chili, friends in hoodies, and mentions of PSLs all week (apparently Starbucks reformulated the magic this year and the public is on the verge of mass hysteria,) and I’ve got one more idea to combat this cooler weather – Sweet Corn Risotto. So good you won’t even mind stepping on corn kernels in your kitchen for a few days afterwards because, try as you might, there’s just not a fool-proof way to keep them from flying over your shoulder when slicing ’em off the cob. Freaking corn kernels!
Anyway, I created this dish to use up more of that freshly-picked, hand-delivered sweet corn that’s burning a hole in my fridge, and it’s fantastic. Sweet corn kernels are sauteed with mild leeks until lightly caramelized then stirred into creamy risotto with freshly grated parmesan cheese and an obscene amount of salt and pepper. Simple, light, delicious. This dish isn’t just good for cool nights, but any night for the rest of the summer. We’ve got to get to eating this sweet corn before the season ends!
We are heading out to see family in Colorado in a few weeks and my little brother, who lives in Denver, already requested that we bring him as much Iowa sweet corn as we can fit into our car. That’s how good it is. To me, summer in Iowa is sweet corn dripping with butter and salt, and there’s no better vehicle to deliver that combo to your dinner table than in creamy risotto. Because, no toothpick required, right?
It was hard to part with a few ears for this dish but it gives it a burst of freshness, plus the kernels stay nice and crisp adding a great texture to each bite. Let’s just say there’s a sweet corn kernel-shaped burn on the roof of my mouth from shoveling multi still-steaming spoonfuls straight from the skillet into my hungry mouth.
This recipe is created with and sponsored by Challenge Butter – specifically their Lactose Free butter which spreads ultra smooth and is perfect for sauting with, plus it’s got a delicious buttery flavor because it’s made with real butter with just canola oil, filtered water and salt added. If you’ve got a lactose intolerance, this needs to be your go-to butter!
Start by melting 2 Tablespoons Challenge Butter in a very large skillet over medium heat then add 2 cups sweet corn kernels (about 3 small or 2 large ears-worth,) 2 chopped leeks (white and light green parts only,) 2 cloves minced garlic, and lots of salt and pepper. Saute until the leeks are tender, about 10 minutes, then scoop the mixture onto a plate and set aside.
Next, bring 6 cups chicken broth to a simmer in a saucepan then turn the heat down to low to keep warm. This is the liquid that’s added ladleful by ladleful into the risotto so you want to make sure it’s the same temperature as to not slow the cooking time down.
Meanwhile, saute 1 chopped shallot in another Tablespoon Challenge Butter plus 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for about 2 minutes, then stir in 1-1/2 cups arborio rice. Arborio rice is a short grain rice that’s really starchy and gives risotto that classic creamy and chewy texture that I love so much.
Next stir in 1/2 cup dry white wine – I used sauvignon blanc – then stir until it’s nearly absorbed by the rice. Choose a wine you’d drink to make sure you’ll like the final dish, and stay away from sweet rieslings or moscato. Sauv Blanc or Chardonnay should do the trick!
Time to settle in! Add 2 ladlefuls of the hot chicken broth then stir constantly until the broth is nearly absorbed by the rice before adding two more ladlefuls. Keep stirring and adding, stirring and adding, until the rice is creamy and al dente, about 25 minutes.
This would be a good time to pour yourself a glass of that aforementioned dry white wine to enjoy while you’re stirring. I was pretty proud of myself for lasting a whole 17 minutes before craving and pouring out a big glug. I was holding strong until Hotel California came on my Pandora station – my JAM!
At the end of your stirring sesh the rice should be al dente but still creamy, and after pulling a spatula through the center of the risotto it should still slowly glide back into place. I’ll never forget watching a contestant on Top Chef get eliminated from the competition because his risotto stayed in a gloppy heap instead of slowly draping over the plate. Tom was p!ssed!
Last step is to stir the corn and leek mixture back into the rice along with 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese and tons of salt and cracked black pepper.
Scoop into bowls then top with more cracked pepper and a flourish of fresh parsley for color, and then devour!
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Sweet Corn Risotto
Sweet Corn Risotto is a celebration of summer. Creamy and decadent yet light and perfect for warm evenings.
- 6 cups gluten-free chicken broth
- 3 Tablespoons Challenge Butter (lactose-free if you need it!) divided
- 2 cups sweet corn kernels (about 3 small ears worth)
- 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced in half then into thin half moons
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot or 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 1-1/2 cups gluten-free arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan then turn heat down to low to keep warm and place a lid on top.
- Meanwhile, melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat then add sweet corn, leeks, and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until leeks are tender, 10 minutes. Remove mixture to a bowl then set aside.
- Melt remaining Tablespoon butter in extra virgin olive oil in the skillet then add the shallots and saute until starting to turn tender, 2 minutes. Add rice then stir for one minute. Add wine then stir until nearly absorbed by the rice. Add two ladlefuls of chicken broth then stir constantly (not too fast, not too slow) until nearly absorbed then add another two ladlefuls and stir, etc until rice is creamy and al dente, 25-30 minutes (may not use all 6 cups of chicken broth.)
- Remove skillet from heat then stir in parmesan cheese and corn and leek mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste then serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
This creamy fresh dish is such a winner. Enjoy often for the rest of sweet corn season!