Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Roasted Corn and Jalapeno Cheddar Risotto

Last night we had a MAJOR storm that left about 6 inches of hail on the ground in about 10 minutes! I woke up this morning to a very foggy and chilly morning, so needless to say today is definitely a day that is leaving me wanting some sort of hot, creamy comfort food!

Roasted Corn, Jalapeno, and Cheddar Risotto

1 1-lb. bag of frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 jalapenos, seeded (unless you want some extra hotness)
1 medium red, yellow, or white onion (whichever you prefer), chopped
1-2 Tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
1-1 ½ cups of sharp Cheddar cheese
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice (pictured above, thanks to www.vegeyum.files.wordpress.com)
4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup dry white wine
6 ½ cups chicken stock (I used bouillon cubes because they’re cheaper and I don’t have time to make homemade stock), warmed
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

For the roasted corn, jalapenos, and onions: Toss all veggies with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on baking sheet and roast for 10-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to avoid burning. You’ll want everything to be caramelized (a little bit of brown), but not burned. When you see caramelization, pull the baking sheet out of the oven and let it cool until it’s time to stir into the risotto.

For the risotto: Melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and Arborio rice, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or so to let the rice toast a little bit. Pour in the white wine, and continue stirring until all of the liquid has been absorbed into the rice. At this point, the goal is to be constantly stirring the remaining liquid into the rice, 1 cup at a time. So, when the wine is absorbed, pour one cup of the chicken stock in. Stir until liquid is absorbed into the rice. Repeat until all of the liquid has been stirred in. This creates a slow release of the starch in the Arborio rice, which makes it thick and creamy without having to add cream.

Once all of the liquid has been stirred in and the risotto is thick and creamy, take the pot off of the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese and roasted vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

I got the idea for this from my friend Emma. She was the first person to ever prepare risotto for me, and after tasting hers (it had summer squash and AMAZING aged parmigiano-reggiano) I knew I wanted to try making it myself. Lo and behold, one night I came up with this recipe and loved it! It’s great with just about any protein, but I especially like it with grilled chicken. This makes a ton of food, so it’s great for entertaining (if you’re ok with standing over the pot while everyone mingles), but the leftovers are also fantastic. Just warm it up with a little extra liquid (I just use water) to make it creamy again.

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