Corn risotto is a savory dish consisting of grains, typically short-grain rice, into which hot stock has been slowly absorbed, along with kernels of corn, chopped onion, wine, butter, cheese, and seasonings. As corn usually comes into season during the summer months in countries like the US, corn risotto is often considered a summer dish. Preparing this dish can be time-consuming, as the stock in which the grains are softened is added only one ladleful at a time, and it requires frequent stirring while it cooks. It is possible to alter the flavor of traditional corn risotto recipes by substituting certain ingredients or adding seasonings.
In most cases, the basic building blocks of a corn risotto are a short-grained rice such as Arborio or Carnaroli, several cups of hot chicken or vegetable stock, and either corn kernels which have been cut directly from a cob or frozen corn which has been defrosted. Additionally, most corn risotto recipes call for butter, white wine, a grated hard cheese such as Parmesan, chopped onion, and seasonings like salt and pepper. Properly prepared corn risottos are extremely creamy, with an “al dente” texture and a taste that combines the sweetness of corn with the tang of white wine and aged cheese.
As corn usually comes into season during the summer months in countries like the US, corn risotto is commonly considered to be a summer dish. It appears on the menus of many restaurants which offer seasonal dishes during the months of June, July, and August. Home cooks may find that the dish provides a good way to use up corn which may be left over from a previous meal.
Like all kinds of risotto, preparing corn risotto can be quite labor intensive. This is primarily because the stock in which the rice is softened must be added only one ladleful at a time. The cook must wait for each ladleful of stock to be absorbed by the rice before adding more liquid. Additionally, risotto requires almost constant stirring, making it difficult for a cook to multitask while making it. Therefore, many home cooks regard it as a dish for special occasions only.
Cooks who wish to deviate from standard corn risotto recipes might try substituting barley for rice. While barley requires more cooking time than short-grain rice, it is rich in fiber and certain nutrients, and is thus considered by some to be a healthier alternative to rice. It is also possible to alter the flavor of this dish by adding beer instead of wine, or by adding herbs such as thyme or seasonings like dried chili flakes.