Years ago, Tom showed me the building blocks for a flawless risotto - and it's still one of my favorite dishes for showcasing gorgeous produce. Last night I put together a sweet corn risotto with basil and a few grilled figs stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in proscuitto. I served it with an arugula salad with ollallieberry-shallot vinaigrette. This recipe serves 4 for dinner, with a salad.
2 tsp butter
1 onion or 3 shallots, chopped finely
1.5 cups arborio rice
3/4 cup white vermouth
4 ears of corn, kernels removed
a big handful of basil, sliced thinly
a vat of stock (use the cobs from the corn, if you have time!)
salt & pepper
8 slices of proscuitto
a few tablespoons of goat cheese
1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pan. Slowly cook the onions until translucent. Add the rice, and toast for a moment.
2. Add the vermouth, and scrape up any tasty browned bits at the bottom. Add stock until the rice is just covered. Bring to a very gentle simmer. Keep adding stock so the rice is just covered, stirring occasionally. It will take about 20 minutes to cook. If you run out of stock, use wine or water to fill in.
a) Split your figs in half, but don't cut all the way through to the bottom. Press in a squidge of goat cheese, and press the fig back together.
b) Wrap the fig in a slice of proscuitto. Grill the package for a minute or two a side, or until the proscuitto is crispy, but not burnt.
--back to the risotto--
3. When the risotto is very close to done (~1 minute left), stir in the basil and the corn. If the risotto is done cooking, turn off the heat, stir in the basil and corn, cover the pot & let it sit for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Serve in a wide bowl with a generous grating of hard cheese (pecorino, reggiano, or a hard Spanish cheese all work nicely), a grind of pepper, and two figs perched in the middle.