Monday, September 19, 2011

Fresh Corn & Pancetta Risotto: 'tis the season!

There's a time and a place for everything, and the time has never been better for this incredibly satisfying risotto. You may have noticed a few ears of corn being offered for sale out right about now? If you haven't then you obviously have been a shut in for the last three weeks. Like fresh tomatoes warm off the vine, corn is never better than you'll get it in late summer/early fall. I picked up three ears at our local market for about a buck. If there's a more satisfying way to spend a dollar I haven't heard of it! I knew immediately what I was going to do with them. Risotto is the perfect thing for me to be making at home right now since we're still in "moving phase", getting into our new house and getting the old one ready for listing. Simple is definitely the mantra right now, and nothing could be simpler or tastier than this dish. It takes about 10 or 15 minutes to prep, maybe 25 to cook, and then you can take all the time in the world to linger over the incredibly delicious results!
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Fresh Corn & Pancetta Risotto
an E.D.T original

3 ears fresh corn on the cob
4 oz. pancetta, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1-1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
5 cups chicken broth/stock (approx.)
1/2 stick butter (optional but a really good idea)
grated parmagiano-reggiano

1- Shuck the ears of corn, removing as much of the silk as you can. Take your chefs knife and cutting as closely to the base of the kernels as possible, slice them top to bottom into a bowl. It's super easy, but if you haven't done it before click here for a great tutorial. You should end up with about two cups of kernels. Set aside.

2- Heat medium sized skillet over med-high heat, add pancetta and cook until semi-crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain off all but about two tablespoons of fat and set skillet aside.

3- Put chicken broth in a 3 quart saucepan and heat to a simmer. In a medium saucepan add olive oil and butter and heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Add onion and saute until it is softened, about 6 or 7 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat for about 1 minute. Add white wine and stir until almost all of the wine is absorbed. Then start adding broth about 3/4 cup at a time, stirring all the while, until the rice is just al dente (or whatever texture you prefer). Reheat pancetta and add it (along with its delicious pork fat!) and the corn to the pan and stir to combine. Add butter and stir until melted, then ladle risotto into bowls/plates. Top with grated parmagiano and serve.

wine pairing note: I was most fortunate to have a random bottle of 2001 Bernard Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru white burgundy rolling about the cellar. It was chardonnay at its most sublime! Assuming not everyone has such liquid wonder available, I would still highly recommend you find a more reasonably priced white burgundy (or other not overly-oaked chardonnay), maybe a 2007 or 2009 Viré-Clessé or good Macon from those same vintages. Both '07 and '09 were warm years, and the rich fruit, with still young acids, would be great with the richness and vibrancy of the corn.


Gretchen said...

I need to make this! I just finished cutting the kernels off of 14 ears of corn. I think I see some pancetta in our future. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Gayle said...

Yum! Thanks for sharing. I've been eyeing all the beautiful corn and wondering what to do with it (other than grill it).

bb said...

Thanks for your comments, G & G. I did get asked by a friend a pertinent question, which is should she blanch the corn before stirring it in, which I emphatically said "NO" to! It cooks ever so slightly in the risotto, and you don't want to lose even a smidge of its freshness and sweet flavor.

Richard said...

Hmmm a 2001 Bernard Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet, how classy! If you're interested in guest-posting on Connecticut Food & Wine, contact me