Wednesday, September 8, 2010

End of Summer Risotto

The Midwestern boy that he is, my husband cannot get enough corn.  Truth be told, I get rather tired of eating corn on the cob, and look for other ways to include this summer bounty in our dinners.  This dish made me excited to eat more corn.

Risotto with Corn, Sausage, and Spinach
Serves 4 to 6

6 cups chicken broth
3 ears of fresh corn, shucked
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups trimmed spinach
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp butter
3 green onions or shallots, finely diced
1/4 lb spicy pork sausage, casings removed and crumbled
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup lager beer
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until very hot.  Add the corn and cook until the kernels are just tender, about 3 or 4 minutes.

Transfer the corn to a cutting board and reduce the heat to keep the broth hot but not simmering.  Once the corn is cool enough to handle and slice off the kernels.

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large, heavy saucepan or medium  Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the spinach and toss with tongs until wilted, just 1 or 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a cutting board, let it cool slightly, and then coarsely chop.

Wipe the pan (used for the spinach) clean.  Drop in the butter and melt over medium heat.  Add the onions/shallots with just a pinch of salt, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes.

Add the sausage, breaking it apart with a fork into crumbles, and cook until no longer pink.

Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated with fat and the edges become translucent, about 2 minutes.  Pour in the beer and stir until it is absorbed, less that a minute.

Ladle enough of the hot broth into the pan to just cover the rice.  Bring to a boil and then adjust the heat to maintain a lively simmer.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the broth is mostly absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Continue adding broth in 1/2 cup increments, stirring consistently, and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next.  The steady stirring will break down the fibers of the rice, and make the risotto creamy.

After about 20 minutes, the rice should be just cooked but still fairly firm.  Now, add the corn kernels, spinach, and another 1/2 cup of broth.  Continue to simmer and stir until the corn is warmed through and the rice is just tender, probably another 3 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately with a sprinkling of parsley.

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