19 June 2006

Lime in Risotto...Wha?

If you have ever before lived on the third story of a non-air-conditioned building in Chicago during the summer, you might know that using the oven or the stove can be an uncomfortable experience.

If you have ever before prepared risotto, you might know that the process entails standing over a stove and stirring constantly for at least twenty or thirty minutes.

If you have ever before tasted “Fresh Corn Risotto with Basil, Tomato, and Lime” from The Joy of Cooking, you might know that even if your apartment is 96 degrees and you are so hot that you have taken multiple cool showers and after the seventh one you just decided not to put your clothes back on, then the only logical course of action left available is to make “Fresh Corn Risotto with Basil, Tomato, and Lime” from The Joy of Cooking.

To enhance your experience of this incredibly unique flavor explosion, put your clothes back on (or not) and feast out on your back porch (or a mountain top) while sipping a glass (or three) of cool, crisp white wine (not Yellowtail).

The lime, and the corn, and the basil, and the tomatoes…you just can’t imagine its taste until you have really tasted it, and only then you can imagine the taste, because you have already tasted it and you want it to taste it everyday.

risotto grains

Fresh Corn Risotto with Basil, Tomato, and Lime
~from The Joy of Cooking

1 cup peeled and diced ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
5 cups chicken stock
2 cups corn kernels from 4 or 5 large ears (I used frozen corn once and it was still delicious)
2 tablespoons butter, preferably unsalted
½ cup finely chopped scallions (white part only)
1 ½ cups Italian rice (I use Arborio rice)
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Combine the first four ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Purée 1 cup of the corn kernels in a food processor.
Heat the butter in a large saucepan medium hat until the foam subsides. Cook the scallions for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Keep them from browning by not letting the heat become to high.
Add the rice and stir, coating the grains with butter.
Add the wine (I love the the hisssssssss as the wine hits the grains coated with hot butter)!
Cook and stir until the wine is absorbed.
Here is the key to creamy, perfectly textured risotto: using a ladle, add 1 cup of stock to the rice. Stir the rice over medium heat until the stock is absorbed. Add the remaining stock, one ½ at a time, cooking and stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed before adding more. (Sometimes I get impatient and I add a cup of stock instead of a ½ cup, but I have to do that when my husband isn’t watching or else I get slapped on the wrist with a hot, brothy ladle.)
Keep adding stock in ½ increments, stirring all the while, until the rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add the puréed corn mixture with some more stock and stir for another five or ten minutes, until rice is tender. Add the non-puréed corn kernels and the fresh tomato mixture. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Don’t you dare use the icky Fake Parmesan Cheese in the green cylinder! Instead, try to find an aged hunk of parmesan, preferably imported, and grate it yourself, lovingly, with a vegetable peeler.


Julie said...

Sounds good, and it looks gorgeous. Our local corn doesn't come in until early July but I'll have to give this a try when it does.

jenjen said...

yummm...i love risotto. It's funny you talk about how hot it is. because down here its freezing.
I guess risotto is one of those meals you can have in any climate.

MamaSutra said...

I just started reading your site today and it is beautiful. The risotto recipe looks wonderful. But, why are you so hard on the Kraft parmesan? It's in the "gourmet foods" section of Amazon, and it got such good reviews!?! (Kidding! That stuff is beyond nasty.) Great blog!

Jared said...

You're brave to be cooking risotto in the summer. The heat in my flat is unbearable, but for this recipe I might just risk it.

splatgirl said...

JOC has always been my favorite and most used cookbook. Thanks for the reminder that it's a great source for recipes other than those classic, basic things like pastry cream, pie crust and chicken a la king.

Erielle said...

Julie, once I used frozen corn because I couldn't wait for fresh corn, and the risott was still delicous!

Jenjen, I agree!

Thanks, mamasutra. Maybe we should get a job on the committee that decides what Amazon categorizes as "gourmet."

Jared, go for it, you won't be disappointed.

Splatgirl, first of all, I like your name, it's hilarious. JOC was my very first cookbook, and it's stained and falling apart after only seven or eight years. Have you tried the Irish soda bread recipe? Yum-yum.

Karen said...

I just found your blog- looks good, and seems very tasty!
I'm too tired to cook tonight, but you persuaded me to haul out my copy of JOC and make that risotto.
Also, I've been on somewhat of a bender this week, but will try the cukey gimlets when I resume drinking.

Anonymous said...

Also living on a third floor chicago unairconditioned apartment, I totally agree that this one is worth it... I made it last night and it was great. My basil plant is nearly naked, but it's so worth it!

Happyfingers said...

Erielle, what a delightful site! By coincidence, I actually made a slight variation on this recipe about the same time you posted this, adding about 5 oz. of crab claw meat (half of one of those big Trader Joe's cans) just after taking the risotto off the heat.
I also used WAY more wine and slightly less chicken stock than they called for, and two medium-sized ears of corn. (It was plenty; at least 2 cups.)

Anonymous said...

I suggest using Carnaroli rice instead of Arborio. The best Carnaroli is an organic aged one called Acquerello (available at Fox and Obel)

Erielle said...

Karen~ it's been awhile since you wrote but I hope the risotto did not fail you!

Anonymous who also lives on the third floor of a Chicago apartment~ yay! I'm so happy you liked the recipe. As for the naked basil plant, I bet by now it has grown more leaves and you can make it again!

Happyfinger~ thank you for the suggestions. The next time I make this I will definitely add crab. Yum!

Anonymous~ thanks so much for the suggestion for the organic aged rice. Now I have an excuse to go to Fox and Obel, and a real purpose, too, to keep me from wandering the aisles in an awed daze.

Holt and Barbara said...

A lovely blog and a lovely dish.
I've linked your description to our blog, and you might enjoy our take on this essence of summer.

Dazy said...

I'm making this for dinner tonight. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!