Monday, October 7, 2013

Sweet Corn Risotto

I really enjoyed the summer-like weather this weekend down in DC. August was cold up here in Boston, so I was happy to have had a chance to revive my sundresses and sandals for one last hurrah.  In that spirit, I decided to continue the summer revival by sharing one of my favorite summer recipes, a simple sweet corn risotto. This recipe is best when made with sweet corn fresh from the farm stand-- my last batch for the summer was made with a few ears of corn my parents purchased right before I left left town on my last visit and it was just a notch up from the organic frozen sweet corn I usually use from Trader Joe's. The flash frozen sweet corn from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods is very good though and will make this dish taste just as sweet as an Indian summer.

Corn is one of my favorite ingredients because it is one of a few vegan protein sources that is rich in the essential amino acid lysine. To completely nerd out, lysine is my favorite amino acid. It's responsible for the crosslinks in collagen, which give structure to almost all connective or muscle tissue.  To give you an idea, the molecules and crosslinking reactions are shown below (Remember, I'm an organic chemist, so this is the stuff I think is really cool!)

Sweet Corn Risotto

1 cup risotto/ arborio rice
2 ears of fresh sweet corn, cooked and de-cobbed or 1.5c frozen sweet corn
3 to 4 cups water
1/4c nutritional yeast (or 1/4c parmesan cheese)
red pepper flakes
2-3 scallions, diced (or a few slices of diced onion)
1 bullion cube (broken up)

1. Saute the scallions with a dash of garlic, basil, the broken up bullion cube and a splash of water to avoid greasing the pan.
2. Add in the risotto rice. Saute the rice for 1 minute.
3. Add 1 cup of water/ broth to the risotto. Stir until absorbed. (You don't need to stir quite constantly, but it's much more stirring than regular rice).
4. Repeat step 6 with the 2nd and 3rd cups of water.
5. After 3 cups, your risotto may be done, check the texture to see if it's to your taste. If it's still too firm, add the last 1/4 to 1 cup of water slowly in 1/4 cup increments. Stop when the risotto is firm enough for your liking.
6. Add the sweet corn and nutritional yeast. Garnish with basil and chili pepper.

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