Summer corn and leek risotto for weekday dinner

What I dig most about my one-pot-risotto-for-dinner recipe is that it's totally adaptable. In the winter, I make it with cubed frozen butternut squash and shallots. Spring, fresh peas and asparagus. Top with sauteed prawns. Or sausage. Or toasted walnuts. You get the idea. 

I wrote this *summer* version for the Los Altos Town Crier.

I get a little giddy when sweet corn starts arriving at the markets. Served grilled or boiled, the veggie is a perfect expression of summer. Everyone in my house is a fan.
So when I found myself with lots of corn and a need for a quick weekday dinner, I decided to showcase the sweet kernels in a simple and satisfying risotto.
Round out dinner with a simple tomato salad alongside the risotto. Slice fresh tomatoes and place them on a plate. Salt and pepper the slices evenly, then drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with fresh chives.
Wine pairing
I like to serve a chilled white wine with this meal. The sweet corn can overwhelm many whites, so select one that is just as rich. My choice is full-bodied Viognier, a Rhône varietal grown outside of France now. Similar to Chardonnay, this lush wine has a soft mouthfeel and clean finish.
Because there is saffron in the dish – an ingredient that goes well with red and white wines – you could also serve an Italian red.
Sweet Corn and Leek Risotto with Crispy Prosciutto

  • 1 ounce prosciutto (3 ultra-thin slices)
  • 1 cup freshly cut corn from the cob (approximately 2 ears)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (scant more for pan)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium leeks, white parts only, diced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • Small pinch saffron
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Add broth, wine and saffron to medium stockpot and bring to low boil.
Heat large, flat-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add drizzle of olive oil. Once oil is glistening, add prosciutto. Cook until crispy on one side, then flip and cook until crispy. Remove from pan and cool on paper towel.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once oil is glistening, add leeks. Cook until slightly translucent (5 minutes).
Add corn and salt and pepper to taste.
Continue to cook for 5 minutes, then remove leeks and corn from pan. Set aside.
Add remaining olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to pan. When butter is melted, add Arborio rice and stir to coat. Let rice toast slightly in pan.
Slowly add 1 cup at a time of hot broth mixture, stirring pan constantly with wooden spoon. Adjust heat as needed to maintain even simmer. As soon as broth is absorbed, add another ladle. Cooking time should be approximately 18 minutes.
Dice prosciutto and set aside.
Fold corn and leek into risotto.
Add butter and grated cheese and fold through.
Serve immediately with diced prosciutto placed atop each serving.
Tip: After removing kernels of corn, I freeze the cobs, which are a great addition to a pot of clam chowder during the winter. Throw one in to flavor the chowder as it cooks and remove cob before serving.


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