Wine & Dine Wednesday is a dish I made last week-end. Last year we had the best corn of the season in May, that we bought at the local grocery store in Chatham. Crazy, I know, but it really was the best we had last Summer. So when I saw a huge stack of it again this year at the same time & place, I jumped at the chance to buy a bunch of ears. And by golly, pretty darn amazing again. We are off with a bang! So good in fact that I bought another round the next week (just the other day) and made risotto with it, along with roasted shrimp. I used 4 cobs, boiling it first, then TPS took all the corn off the cob for me while I stirred away at the pot of Arborio rice. I find making risotto one of the most relaxing things. Something about the chopping, stirring and more stirring. I really wanted this to be corn laden, so the 4 cobs of corn to the 2 cups of rice was a good ratio. It was super corny, just what I was going for. I had first titled this ‘Shrimp & Corn Risotto’ but swapped it around as corn really gets the top billing in this. Ted had made stock the day before so fresh chicken/vegetable stock made it even tastier. If you have homemade stock, lovely. Boxed stock is grand too, as it is what I use most times if we don’t have stock in the freezer.
I like to cook the shrimp first in a hot 400 degree oven (I know, very surprising) so they are cooked and set aside waiting and you don’t have to take your eye off of stirring the risotto. Plus, once you toss them into the rice, they heat up a bit. Just scatter the shrimp onto a baking sheet, slather with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper, and a bit of finely diced garlic. Mix around. Add to oven, turning then after 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the lot, because depending on their size, you might only need to cook them for 7 to 10 minutes total. Test one. Better to have slightly underdone as they will continue to cook after you take them out and put on a plate to rest. But it is satisfying to know they are complete so you don’t have to worry about the shrimp at the last minute when the risotto starts coming together.
Heat up the 8 cups of stock to not quite a boil, then turn down the heat a bit, but the stock should remain hot thru the entire risotto cooking process.
Next, and here is where I like to use a good sized Le Creuset pot for cooking the risotto in, add a liberal dose of butter and cook a diced onion and shallot till they are not quite brown. Then add a good amount of olive oil to that, along with 2 cups of Arborio rice. Coat the rice with the butter and oil mixture, and sauté for a minute or two to cook thru, but don’t brown the rice. All of the above is done over medium heat, but stove tops vary greatly, so adjust accordingly.
Now the liquids begin. Add one cup of white wine to the mixture. I like to use a white that we will be serving with the meal. Stir rice till the wine is absorbed. The depth of flavor the wine adds to the finished product is really noticeable. Now the waiting hot stock takes center stage. Add one cup of stock to the mixture, stirring till the stock is fully absorbed. What holds many folks back about making risotto is there is a good amount of stirring involved. A constant stir is not necessary, but pretty close. This is where the white wine you opened comes in quite nicely. Sipping a little white wine during the risotto making process is a personal favorite–it is my break from stirring. Continue adding the hot stock one cup at a time, and the rice will become creamier as you go, as it releases the natural starches. Add the 7th cup of stock. At this point, you will be about 20 to 25 minutes into the rice cooking process. You are almost there. Now add the corn that you took off of the cob. Stir. Add a cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Stir. Turn off the heat. Add most of the cooked shrimp, holding back a few to adorn the top of the bowls you are about to serve. Add your last cup of stock. Stir. Add a dusting of salt & fresh ground black pepper. Stir. Put on the lid. Let sit for 5 minutes, have another sip of your white wine, as we are almost done.
Once that 5 minutes has passed, give it one last stir, adding a bit more stock so it is nice and creamy. In a bowl add the risotto mixture, then add a few pieces of the shrimp to the top of each bowl and finally a few sprinkles of the grated Parmesan. A bit of work, but that will all fade away when you have your first bite.