Sweet Corn Risotto
The most important ingredient in your risotto (and by far, the most often overlooked) is the stock. Go ahead and bicker over the rice (arborio or carnaroli?), the fat (olive oil or butter?), the acid (lemon juice or wine?), you’re just wasting time. No matter what combination of rice+fat+acid you settle on, if you use boxed vegetable or chicken stock your risotto will grow fat on that antiseptic flavor, the sanitized taste of cartoned stock.
Now you’ll argue that you don’t keep homemade stock on hand. I’ll digitally rap your knuckles for that, but offer you an escape route in this recipe. To flavor this rice fully with summer corn, shuck the kernels and then roast the bare cobs. Once bronzed in the oven, drop them in a pot of simmering water with an onion and make stock right away. With very little effort (and no extra ingredients than you’ll already need for the risotto) you’ve got a bath of sweet corny liquid for your rice.
Take note: when you’re trimming veggies (tops and bottoms), removing stems, and peeling away layers, SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. I keep a gallon sized plastic bag in the freezer and chuck the bits and bobs into it as I work through the week/month. When the bag is full, I dump it in a big pot, cover the scraps with water, add some peppercorns and let it simmer for a few hours. Do the same with animal bones. Homemade stock need not be a burden, it should be as it always was, a reduction of scraps and unused parts, a distillation of flavor. Be clever in the kitchen and you’ll save more money than you’d expect.