Monday, September 20, 2010

Bacon and Corn Risotto

I love risotto almost as much as I love sweet summer corn, so corn risotto has been on my cooking wish list for some time.  I don't know what took me so long to make it, as it's a truly awesome dish, especially when enhanced with a healthy dose of bacon--corn and bacon are a match made in heaven.  The key to the risotto is the corn broth; you add the entire cob, all of the husk, and even the string to a pot full of water and allow it to simmer for an hour.  What you end up with is a light broth that imbues the risotto with wonderful corn flavor.

Bacon and Corn Risotto
Serves 2 to 3

  • 2 ears of corn, unshucked
  • 6 cups water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 lb smoky bacon, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Shuck the ears of corn, trimming off any browned parts of the husks.  Place the husks and the strings in a large stock pot.  
  2. Remove the kernels from the corn cobs and set them aside in a bowl.  Chop each cob into three equal-sized pieces and add them to the stock pot.
  3. Fill the stock pot with 6 cups of water and bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover the pot.  Simmer the corn trimmings for 1 hour.  Season with salt and pepper and keep the corn broth warm.  
  4. Add the bacon to a medium-size saucepan and heat over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is slightly crispy, about 3 minutes.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set it aside.
  5. Pour off all but 2 tbsp of bacon fat from the pan and reduce the heat in the pan to medium-low.  Add the onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  6. Increase the heat to high.  Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice begins to crackle, about 2 minutes.
  7. Pour the wine into the sauce pan.  Stir the contents of the pan constantly until the rice has absorbed all of the wine, 1 to 2 minutes.  
  8. Reduce the heat to medium.  Holding a strainer over the saucepan, ladle in just enough of the corn broth to cover the rice.  Keeping the risotto at a simmer, constantly stir the rice until it has absorbed nearly all of the broth.
  9. Stir the corn kernels into the rice.  Passing the brother through the strainer, add enough to barely cover the rice.  Stir the rice until it has absorbed the broth.  
  10. Continue to add just enough broth to cover the rice and stir it constantly until the rice is soft and the risotto is creamy.  This will require at least 2 cups of broth total. 
  11. Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese.  Season the risotto with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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