This recipe for Champagne and Sweet Corn Risotto is light enough to enjoy in ample quantity with a big fresh salad and has simple and delicate flavors that sing summer – or the last moments of it. Fresh yellow sweet corn is juicy, crunchy, and rich in natural sugars, complimenting the acidity of the champagne beautifully. Corn is also high in antioxidants, including the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin which, according to research conducted by the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, help protect against retina damage from light exposure. I recommended enjoying this dish with your favorite company, lots of laughs and, of course, the remaining bottle of Champagne.
Champagne & Sweet Corn Risotto
Serves 6 to 8
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
2 cups Champagne
2 cups fresh yellow sweet corn kernels, from 4 ears of corn
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Chopped fresh herbs of choice, such as parsley, chives
Freshly ground black pepper
In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Keep the stock simmering so it is hot when added to risotto throughout the cooking process.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, and, when warm, add the olive oil. Add the shallots and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes, seasoning with the sea salt to draw out the moisture. Stir in the garlic and sauté a minute longer.
Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat each grain in the olive oil. Cook for an additional minute, and then add 1 ½ cups of the Champagne. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the champagne until it’s mostly absorbed, stirring frequently.
Ladle in a ½ cup of the simmering stock, and continue to simmer with the Arborio rice, stirring frequently, until absorbed. Repeat this process, adding ½ of stock at a time, until the rice is slightly chewier than al dente. Remember to stir frequently. It is the stirring motion that helps the rice release it’s starches, giving the dish its signature creaminess.
Just before the rice is finished cooking, stir in the corn kernels, followed by the remaining ½ cup of champagne. Cook until incorporated into the risotto and the texture is al dente. Season with additional sea salt to taste. Stir in Parmigiano cheese just before serving and top with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy.