The Simple Swap For More Flavorful Corn Risotto

If you like to keep a well-stocked pantry at home, there's one staple we're willing to bet will be found amid your cans of tomatoes, boxes of pasta, and bottles of olive oil: rice. An essential grain folks seem to love for its versatility and affordability, rice forms the base of so many of our very favorite dishes: Think chicken fried rice, hearty red beans and rice, classic seafood paella, and so many more. Rice in all its varieties — from jasmine to basmati to brown to wild — also makes a simple, and perfect, side dish, perhaps with some butter and salt. It's no wonder so many of us keep it on hand.

And if there's one dish in which we can truly say rice takes the starring role, it's risotto, the creamy, hearty rice porridge that, according to DeLallo, originated in northern Italy and utilized the region's short, stubby, starchy variety known as Arborio rice. The dish has gone on to conquer the world, appearing in traditional varieties such as Parmesan and mushroom, as well as more modern adaptations, including lobster and even a type made with cauliflower "rice." Also in that latter category is corn risotto, a now-classic version featuring sweet, in-season corn that shines beautifully when folded into the creamy rice (via MasterClass). 

If you're looking to make risotto at home, you're going to want to make one simple swap that will seriously amp up the its flavor.

Prepare a simple homemade corn stock for your corn risotto

If you've ever made corn risotto at home, then you know the recipe basically consists of a fully cooked risotto into which fresh, sweet corn kernels are stirred once the risotto is off the heat — just to warm them through (via MasterClass). When made well, this preparation is beautiful, with the corn kernels providing a sweet burst of flavor as well as a pop of texture in every bite.

Risotto, as many of us know, is made by slowly cooking starchy rice in small quantities of hot stock at a time; As ladlefuls of stock are mixed in and the rice absorbs each batch, the grain releases its starches and creates a creamy porridge as opposed to the individual, fluffy grains you get when you steam rice. The stock is also a wonderful opportunity to infuse flavor into the rice as it cooks, which is why making a homemade corn stock for corn risotto is such an effective way to boost the "corniness" of the dish.

To do so, MasterClass suggests simply utilizing the corn cobs from which you've stripped the kernels to make the dish. Add the cobs to a stockpot of water, and toss in aromatics such as celery, carrot, onion, and garlic. Simmer for about a half hour (via The New York Times), strain the stock and keep it warm, and use it as the sweet, subtle, flavorful base for cooking your ultra-corny risotto.