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Tuesday 5/30 - Smoky Corn Risotto

I'd been eyeing this recipe for a long time, and after going to te market today I had everything I needed on hand. You could make this with frozen corn, but I really would recommend going with fresh. It's not much trouble, and the texture really makes a difference here - it's much more toothsome and crunchy, whereas frozen corn is often a tad mushy no matter how little you cook it. So, definitely go fresh, especially now that fresh corn is coming back into season (well, it is here anyway).

Overall this is a lovely dish. It's very creamy and yet not at all heavy, thanks to the fresh corn and sun-dried tomatoes. The sweet potato adds some more substance and color, and its sweetness, coupled with the delicate flavor of the corn, sets off the smoky chipotles very nicely. Plus it's much lower in calories than I thought it would be - bonus! The one downside is that it does take some preparation. There are a lot of things to cut up. Six things, in fact. But I think it's worth it. I'll definitely make it again.

We had this on its own as a meal, but in the future I'll probably pair it with tempeh or some other meat substitute to get in some extra protein. Because while it's low-cal and delicious, it is admittedly light on protein.

Smoky Corn Risotto
Recipe from Entertaining for a Veggie Planet by Didi Emmons

3 ears of corn, shucked, kernals cut off (or 2 cups of frozen corn)
4 cups of vegetable broth
2 Tbsp olive oil (I only used 1)
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 medium red onion, chopped (reserve a bit for garnish if desired)
1 1/2 cups raw arborio rice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup dry sherry (I didn't have this - I just used more stock)
2-3 canned chipotles in adobo, seeded, minced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tsp dried
10 sun-dried tomatoes, drained if oil-packed, sliced thinly

Heat the broth, plus 1/2 cup water, either in a small saucepan or in a large microwave-safe measuring cup. I think the latter is easier, because then you can just pour it out from there. Anyway, heat it up and keep it warm.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sweet potatoes and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft - about 7 minutes. Add the rice, garlic, and salt and saute for 1 minute, stirring to coat the rice with the oil.

Stir in the chipotles, oregano, and sherry, if you have it - otherwise, as noted, you can just use some more stock and it will still turn out just fine. Add 1/2 cup of the broth to the rice mixture and simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed. Add the remining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly (or at least very frequently) until each addition is absorbed; when there is just 1 cup left, add the corn and sun-dried tomatoes.

Cook until the rice is tender but still slightly chewy, 18-20 minutes total, adding some additional hot water if the rice absorbs all the broth. (I had to add about 3/4 cup extra water in all, but I think I may have had my heat too high, so as always, your mileage may vary.)

Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately, sprinkled with the reserved red onion if you like that sort of thing.

Serves 4-6.

My changes: Pretty much just what's stated in parentheses.1 Tbsp of oil instead of the 2 that the book calls for, no sherry, and I didn't have any oregano so I used dried basil. Also I didn't garnish mine with onion. I just don't feel the need to sprinkle raw onion onto things that aren't sandwiches.

Nutritional Information: 230 calories, 3.4 g fat (0.4 g saturated fat), 3.6 g fiber, 4.8 g protein @ 5 servings.

Mmm, this looks really good. I absolutely LOVE sweet potato, and I'm also a big corn fan... in addition, I finally found some non-oil packed sun dried tomatoes last week so I may just have to try this!

Anything with "smoky" or "smoked" in the title, like "grilled" and "roasted" for me equals VERY tasty.

I was thinkin' as I was reading the recipe and so on that it is light, but also light on protein. I was thinkin' some tofu chunks or temepeh strips would truly complement this meal.

And my compliments to the chef!

freedom - Sun-dried tomatoes are so awesome. I've never had the ones packed in oil - they've always kind of icked me out. I don't like anything packed in oil. It's just... gross, you know? Definitely give this one a try if you've got the ingredients around. I LOVE corn as well, so I can vouch for it being truly cornlicious. :)

kleo - I agree! Smoked/grilled/roasted is an automatic interest catcher. Things just taste so good that way. In this it's really only the chipotles that are smokey. I bet you could roast the corn first if you wanted to, though. Or serve it will grilled tofu/tempeh. I'm thinking some sauted marinated tempeh on the side for next time, because I love me some tempeh but don't really like what the George Foreman does for it. Until I have a real grill, sauteeing it is just better.

And I humbly accept your compliments! Though really the cookbook deserves most of the credit. :)

I love risotto. A lot. This one looks very yummy. The only recipe I've tried is for a wintery butternut squash risotto. Unfortunately you can not find butternut squash in May, or June.

Next time you are stalking me knock on the door and you can come to my kitchen and make me risotto. I promise I won't call the police.

you're back, yay! and I have this cookbook, so I'll have to check this out, looks like da bomb =) how excited am I that corn is coming into season in the northeast? aw yea...

jessie - The only other risotto I've made was a butternut squash risotto, and it pretty much convinced me that risotto = pretty much the best use of rice ever. Maybe I'll leave you risotto in the middle of the night, like the elves and the shoemaker except it'll be the stalker and the risotto. You know, I really thought I was being a lot stealthier with this stalking thing. I guess it's pretty obvious that it's my first time. :)

ms. mercedes - I know, when I first saw corn at the market I did a little happy dance. Or at least I did one in my head, anyway. Market is too crowded for much real dancing. This is actually only the second time I've use this cookbook since I got it years ago, but it's my "cookbook of the week" so the next new recipe will be from this one too. I need to put all these books to use.

If you think I'm not making this for dinner tonight then you are SORELY mistaken. WOW! It looks scrumptuous! I loooooove risottto. Zucchini risotto, asparagus risotto, wild mushroom risotto, butternut squash risotto, pumpkin risotto...ahhhhh.

PS: Jessiegirl, it seems odd to me that there is no butternut squash available to you at this time of year. Maybe I'm just spoiled but I'm able to find butternut squash at any time, really. Sometimes it's just a little more expensive. Maybe I take for granted that things are exported to my fruit markets from all over the world so that everything is available all the time.

I’ve also made butternut squash and spinach risotto. It was good, but all the liquid adding and stirring does get a bit tiresome. I bet quinoa would be interesting to try instead of rice here, the nuttiness and texture would go well with the corn I think. I may try this when I get back from vacation, right now I’m going to be living on black bean and sweet potato chili for a couple of days. Mmmm…leftovers.

kat - Make it! It's good! Risotto is amazing. It makes everything all creamy and delicious. I have a recipe for Pea Risotto around someplace that I really want to try when I can find fresh peas. I can find bbutternut squash in some grocery stores now, but not at the farmer's market.

shananigans - The stirring/adding liquid is a little tedious, especially when it's about 105 degrees in the kitchen and you're standing over a simmering pot, cursing every god you can think of. Not that I have, um, any experience in that area or anything. I think it's worth it, though. It's just so yummy. I'm glad you like the chili! It did make good leftovers.

I live off the farmers market. I don't know what I'd do with out it. It certainly makes my cooking more seasonal. Like right now I'm all about the strawberries being sold at the stand down the road from me. They haven't even made it to a recipe because they are so perfectly yummy i eat them straight up.

Lucky! For some reason strawberries aren't that plentiful here yet. They have them at market, but they're pricey - and I'm not sure if they're locally grown or not. I need to get out into the country and find some farm stands. I found a really good one last summer - all organic and hella cheap, plus there were goats and chickens and horses milling around to look at. I need to get back there.

Oh, yes, yum. Can't wait for really great summer corn at the farmers market. Not to mention tomatoes. Come on, summer!

Oh, I know... all the produce is the only thing I like about summer. :)

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