The sweetness of peak summer corn just cannot be beat! That’s why I want to stretch every drop of flavor whenever I cook with it. In this recipe, the kernels are separated from the cobs, which are then used to create a golden and rich corn stock to serve as a base for this creamy risotto. And while I was so ready to add in gobs and gobs of butter, I was challenged to lighten up this dish in the spirit of summer and keep it completely vegan. To ensure you still get that silky smooth product, I puree some of the corn with coconut cream to add that richness that you’re looking for without any dairy!
Ok here’s where I pass along my best tips for perfect risotto, every single time. First, have your stock simmering when you’re ready to cook! If you’re adding cold or even room temp stock to your rice, it’s going to take significantly longer to cook since you’re waiting for the stock to come up to a simmer with every addition. Second, don’t walk away! Part of that creamy texture is a result of the starchy goodness from short-grain rice. The constant agitation from stirring helps release more starch for ultimate creaminess. Finally, to test when your rice is done, simply smash a grain against your counter. You’ll be able to see the individual grains of starch: 3 means you need to cook it longer, 2 means you’re ready to go!
Get ready for the corniest summer ever!
- 6 ears corn, kernels removed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 sprigs thyme
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup coconut cream
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, divided
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 lemon, zested
- Red chile pepper, thinly sliced, for garnish
- Basil, for garnish
In a medium stock pot, add the corn cobs, using the back of a knife to scrape any juices into the pot. Add bay leaves, garlic and thyme, then cover with 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding solids, and return to the pot. Return to a light simmer when you begin to make the risotto.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add corn kernels and sauté until tender and lightly golden, 4-5 minutes. Transfer half to a bowl to set aside and the other half to a blender with the coconut cream. Puree until smooth and then set aside.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add rice, tossing to coat and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine and cook until completely absorbed. Once reduced, begin adding corn stock in 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently until it has all been absorbed. Continue adding stock 1 cup at a time, until the rice is tender (but still has a slight bite), about 20-25 minutes.
Stir in the reserved corn and corn puree and cook until warmed through, 2-3 minutes. Remove risotto from heat adjust seasoning. Garnish with sliced red chile and basil, then serve.