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Corn Risotto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

 

Quick, before fresh corn is no longer available, you must try making this risotto with sweet corn and roasted cherry tomatoes. I know it sounds a little crazy to add carbs to carbs, but it really is a great combination of flavors and textures. The roasted cherry tomatoes on the side add another level of sweetness that you can’t stop eating. I debated whether to add the tomatoes directly into the risotto while cooking it, but decided I didn’t want a pink or red risotto. Besides, they look so pretty whole, clustered on the vine atop the dish.

I grilled the corn, not so much to cook it, but to get grill marks that look nice as garnish. It’s a step you can skip if you want, since the corn will be stripped off the cob and cooked with the rice. But if you’d like to dress up your finished dish, just smear the cob with a little butter and grill for a couple of minutes, on an outdoor grill, or a grill pan.

Strip the corn off the cob, setting aside some of the pieces that have the best grill marks on them. You’ll use them on the top of the finished dish.

Don’t throw out the cobs. Add them to the broth or cooking water. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, any little time simmering with the water helps to impart some flavor.

Meanwhile, drizzle the cherry tomatoes with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the skins start to split open.

While the tomatoes are roasting, make the risotto. I’ve blogged about many different types of risottos before, so I won’t detail it here, except to say that you need the broth to be hot when adding it, ladleful by ladleful. Directions for this risotto are in the recipe below.

Serve with the roasted cherry tomatoes on top, and enjoy this taste of summer on a plate.

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Corn Risotto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • about 4 cups liquid - chicken broth, vegetable broth or a combination.
  • I used two cups chicken broth and two cups of water into which I placed the corn cobs and let simmer for a short while.
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 ears of corn, smeared with a little butter
  • 1 small bunch of cherry tomatoes on the vine, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • fresh thyme and chives, minced
  • fresh black pepper
Instructions
  1. Smear the corn with the butter and place on a grill or a grill pan.
  2. Sear the corn a couple of minutes until you get some grill marks.
  3. You can skip this step since the corn will cook in the risotto, but I like the look of the grilled corn as a finishing touch.
  4. Scrape the corn kernels off the cob, saving some of the large pieces with grill marks to use on top.
  5. Set the corn kernels aside, but place the cobs in the pot with the broth or water.
  6. Place the cherry tomatoes on an ovenproof dish and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  7. Roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until tomatoes start to split open.
  8. Remove tomatoes from oven and set aside.
  9. While the tomatoes are in the oven, make the risotto.
  10. Melt the butter in a skillet with the olive oil.
  11. Add the minced onion and saute until softened.
  12. Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes.
  13. Add the wine and stir, then add the broth, a little at a time, stirring constantly.
  14. When the risotto is about five minutes from being finished, add the corn kernels, setting aside the larger "planks" that you will use to garnish.
  15. Finish cooking the risotto with the corn addition, adding more liquid if necessary.
  16. Finally, add the black pepper to taste, the herbs, another tablespoon of butter and the parmesan cheese.
  17. Serve with the roasted tomatoes on top.
 

Supplì Al Telefono

Supplì Al Telefono

 Did you pay attention to me when I told you to make extra risotto? I hope so, because if you did, you’ve got the ingredients you need to make these little treats. They’re called supplì al telefono, because when you break into them, the mozzarella cheese comes oozing out like the cord of a telephone. Never mind that most people have cordless and/or wireless telephones. You get the idea.

Supplì are native to Rome, and are a variant of arancini, the little Sicilian fried rice croquettes that typically contain bits of meat in a red sauce, peas, and mozzarella.
 My version is a bit nontraditional, since I had leftover risotto made with small pieces of butternut squash and chestnuts, like the one below in my last post. A plain old ordinary risotto will do just fine.
Make sure the risotto is cooled, then take a heaping spoonful, or use a small ice cream scoop, and place a little cube of mozzarella cheese in the middle. Cover with more risotto.
Roll into balls, completely covering the mozzarella.
Dip it in flour, then beaten egg, then breadcrumbs.
Fry it in hot oil until golden brown on the outside. Don’t let the flame get too high, or the inside won’t have enough time to heat and melt the cheese. Don’t fry them at too low a heat, or you’ll have very greasy supplì. Test one out before placing all of them in the skillet. I use a cast iron skillet and fill it about half way with oil. These make a great before dinner snack, accompanied by a good glass of red wine. You can make these ahead of time too, and reheat in the oven.
The only problem is resisting the temptation to eat all of them.

 

Supplì Al Telefono
leftover risotto of any kind – about one cup
mozzarella cheese, cut into small squares – about 1/4 cup or so
flour for rolling
1 egg, beaten
bread crumbs for rolling
oil for frying
Using a heaping spoonful of the cold risotto, place a small cube of mozzarella cheese in the center. Cover with more risotto, then shape into a ball. Roll the ball in flour, then in the beaten egg, then in the breadcrumbs. I use a cast iron skillet and add enough oil to come halfway up the rice balls. Test out one first, before placing them all in the pan. You want the oil to be hot enough so that they don’t become greasy, but not so hot that they brown quickly on the outside without melting the cheese within.
Risotto With Squash, Chestnuts And Prosecco

Risotto with Squash, Chestnuts and Prosecco

 Have you got any half-full bottles of prosecco or champagne left over from New Year’s festivities? OK, don’t scoff — there are some of us who don’t quaff down a whole bottle in one sitting. In addition to the leftover prosecco, there were a dozen chestnuts and a small hunk of butternut squash in the fridge still uncooked and in search of a recipe. Hence the amalgam of these ingredients and birth of this risotto dish.

You can also use already-peeled chestnuts from France that come in a glass jar, but since I had these fresh ones, I cut them in half and plunked them into a pot of boiling water – not long enough to cook them through, but long enough to loosen the shell and pry out the interior. Click here for a more thorough explanation of how to do it.
I thought I’d finally inaugurate this heavy copper pot with the risotto – a pot I bought in the town of Guardiagrele, Italy last summer, but still hadn’t used.  It reminded to me that I’ve got a lot of kitchen tools that sit around unused because they’re in cabinets where I don’t often see them. So I’m taking it upon myself to pull out some of these pots, pans, and other gadgets more frequently in my attempt to “use it or lose it.”
After cooking the risotto in this copper pot, I may never make risotto again in any other vessel. The heavy-gauge pan ensures really even cooking without any hot spots. And it’s beautiful to look at as well.
Make sure you have all the necessary ingredients at the ready before starting to cook. Missing, but vital, to the dish, is the prosecco (use dry white wine if you haven’t got prosecco), as well as butter and extra virgin olive oil. Dice the squash into small pieces because the squash needs to be small enough to cook while you’re stirring it into the risotto. That should take only about 20 minutes. Make sure you make a little extra risotto, because my next post is a truly irresistible treat using leftover risotto.
First thing you do is soften the shallots in a mixture of butter and olive oil, then stir the grains of risotto about for a bit — a process called “tostatura.” You don’t want the grains to turn brown, so just quickly heat the exterior for three or four minutes or until the grains are opaque. This will allow the rice to soak up the liquids without becoming soggy. By the way, make sure to use carnaroli, vialone nano or arborio rice, short grain varieties that release a lot of starch, adding a creaminess to the dish.
Then it’s time for the prosecco (or dry white wine). Don’t forget the cook needs a sample!
Add the vegetables and chestnuts, and a bit of chicken broth, a ladle full at a time. When the rice is cooked (about 20 minutes or so), it’s time for the “mantecatura.”  Take it off the heat, add some dollops of cold butter …
and the parmesan cheese. Dig in.

Risotto with squash, chestnuts and prosecco


printable recipe here


1 cup rice – arborio, carnaroli or vialone nano
1 large shallot
2 T. butter
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup butternut squash, diced in small pieces
1/2 cup chestnuts, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup dry white wine or prosecco
2 cups (or more) hot chicken broth
a couple more tablespoons butter and parmesan cheese to taste (1/4 cup) for the mantecatura

Place the olive oil and butter in a saucepan and add the rice. Toss the rice for a few minutes to coat, but don’t let the grains brown. Pour in the prosecco and stir, then add the squash and chestnuts and a ladleful of the broth. Continue stirring and continue adding broth, one ladle at a time, until the rice is cooked and tender to the bite. Season with salt and white pepper. Remove from the heat and add the cold butter and parmesan cheese.

 

Stuffed Squash And Pumpkin

Stuffed Squash and Pumpkin

While I lament saying goodbye to the juicy tomatoes, sweet corn and other wonderful summer New Jersey produce, a chill in the air offers an opportunity to welcome back enticing fall produce, including winter squashes and pumpkins. Small squashes, like this carnival squash, are not just pretty to look at,  but they’re delicious too – kind of like an acorn squash that’s variegated. For me, squashes and pumpkins provide the perfect receptacle for stuffing, and hopefully you’ll try one of these three recipes. This first one can be vegetarian if you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth – and features a risotto with kale, mushrooms and chunks of squash.







This second one is just a plain old pumpkin – the kind you use for carving jack o’lanterns – only smaller. It’s stuffed with acini di pepe, or pastina, an idea I found on Proud Italian Cook, a terrific Italian food blog written by my friend Marie. Pastina is my all-time favorite comfort food and takes me back to my childhood, when my mom served this to me anytime I wasn’t feeling up to snuff. This version is kicked up a notch with the addition of the squash and the presentation is a lot different from when I was a child.
This third version features a versatile stuffing that would taste great as a stuffing for chicken or turkey. With sausage, apples and bread as the main ingredients, you could throw this in a casserole, serve it with a salad and your dinner would be complete. Actually any of these stuffings would work equally as well in a bowl rather than in a squash or pumpkin, but you have to agree that they look much more inviting like this. If you’re so inclined, just cut the tops off the squash/pumpkins, scoop out the insides, then rub with some olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the lids back on, and bake at 375 degrees for about an hour or until they’re softened a bit, but not so soft that they lose their structure.

For the bread and sausage stuffing, you’ll need to bake it again for about 30 minutes, at about 400 degrees. For the pastina and the risotto stuffing, no further cooking is needed. Just slice into it and enjoy.



Stuffed Squash and Pumpkins


Printable Recipe Here


Choose small pumpkins or squash. Cut a circle on the top and extricate the stringy parts and seeds. I find a grapefruit spoon helps a lot here. Oil the interior, sprinkle with salt and pepper, put the lids back on (it helps to steam the interior) and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour. If you’re serving it with the pastina or the risotto, you might want to bake it the full hour (or until tender enough to eat). For the bread/sausage stuffing, you’ll be placing it in the oven again, so 45 minutes should suffice.

Bread/Sausage Stuffing

This makes enough to fill 2 to 3 small pumpkins or squash

1/4 cup chopped onion
2 stalks celery, minced
3 T. olive oil
1/2 pound Italian sausage
about 4 cups bread, cubed (use a sturdy Italian bread)
1 apple, chopped into small pieces
minced parsley
salt, pepper
1 egg, beaten

Saute the onion and celery in the olive oil until limp. Take the casing off the sausage and cook with the vegetables until barely cooked through. Drain off some of the fat, but not all. Add the bread, parsley, salt, pepper, and apple and combine. Whisk the egg in a bowl, then add it to the stuffing ingredients and mix through. Place stuffing inside pumpkin and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Keep the lid off to get a nice browning on the top. If it looks like it’s getting browned too quickly, lower temperature to 350 degrees.

Pastina Stuffing


squash
pastina or acini di pepe
chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
parmesan cheese
thyme

I don’t give quantities for this because you can be free and loose with it, depending on how much squash you want to use, how liquidy you want the pastina, etc.
Roast some squash in the oven by rubbing with olive oil, salt and pepper and baking for about 1/2 hour at 375 degrees. Cut into small pieces. When I roast squash, I usually make enough to have leftovers the next day.
Simmer the pastina in some chicken broth until cooked through, and add the squash pieces to the pastina. Make it to the consistency you like by adding more or less chicken broth. To me, it tastes best and looks best when it’s almost like a porridge, and not too liquidy. Sprinkle with a little fresh thyme, grated parmesan cheese and pour into individual pumpkins.

Risotto Stuffing


This makes enough to fill three or four small pumpkins or squash

1 cup arborio rice
3 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 leaves lacinato kale or any other type of kale
8 mushrooms
1 cup squash or pumpkin, cut into small pieces
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth, hot
about 1 cup cheese (you could use parmesan, cheddar or fontina – any cheese that melts well. I used a cheese called Herdsman, freshly made from Cherry Grove Farms, not far from Princeton in Lawrenceville, N.J.)

Saute the onion in the oil and butter. Add the mushrooms and saute slightly. Add the rice and stir to coat. Pour in the wine and stir some more. Add the kale, cut into small pieces and the squash or pumpkin. Add the hot broth, a ladle-full at a time, and stir after each addition. Keep doing this for about 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Add the cheese, but reserve some for the top. Pour into the pumpkin or squash, sprinkle with a bit of the reserved cheese, and serve.

Seafood Risotto

Seafood Risotto

This has become one of our favorite Christmas eve dishes. I use shrimp, bay scallops and squid, but you can choose any combination of fish you want. And you don’t have to wait for Christmas Eve to enjoy it. It’s a great dish for company, and one of those meals that can be made and served in one pot. It’s also fun to cook while your guests are gathered in the kitchen. They can help you stir the risotto or make a salad while you take over the main chore. It’s best to have all the ingredients assembled on the counter before you start cooking the risotto. Once it gets going, you don’t want to take time to chop and slice or else the rice will burn or overcook.
This recipe serves at least six people if it’s your main meal, or at least a dozen if it’s one of many other dishes being served.

1/2 large onion, or 4 shallots, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup olive oil
4 T. butter
2 cups arborio rice
2 small packages saffron (about 1/8 t. total)
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups fish stock, or more as needed
1 pound medium-size shrimp
1 pound bay scallops
1 pound small or medium-size squid bodies, sliced into rings
2 dozen littleneck clams or cockles
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers or cherry tomatoes, halved
salt, pepper to taste
chopped parsley

Ahead of time, prepare the fish stock by stripping the shrimp of their shells. Put the shells in a pot with four cups of water, 1/2 an onion, 2 cloves of garlic and a bay leaf. Simmer gently for 1 hour and strain out everything, leaving only the stock. If you don’t want to bother with this step, you can use purchased fish stock.
When you are ready to make the risotto, heat the stock on one burner. On another burner, in a large pan, melt the butter, add the oil and saute the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two, then add the rice and saffron and stir for a couple of minutes. Next add the wine and stir for a couple of minutes. Start adding the hot stock, one ladle at a time, stirring while the rice absorbs the liquid. Continue stirring for about ten or fifteen minutes, adding stock periodically, until the rice is almost cooked, but still al dente. Add the seafood (except the clams) and continue to stir, adding more stock periodically. If you run out of stock, use boiling water. The cold seafood will lower the temperature somewhat and slow down the cooking time. Turn the flame higher. Once the seafood and rice start to bubble up, add the peas, diced peppers (or tomatoes) and more stock, continuing to stir until cooked. The entire cooking time should be about 20 to 25 minutes. During the last five to ten minutes of cooking, have another pot going with a shallow amount of simmering water. Place the clams in that pot and cook until they open. When the clams open, scatter them across the top of the risotto. Sprinkle all with chopped parsley.