I have been seeing delicious corn recipes all over the place recently- charred corn salsa, corn tacos, grilled corn with feta, but yet when I impulsively bought two ears of corn at the farmers market I was at a loss for what to do with them. I decided to make risotto, and threw in some snow peas for good measure. The fresh corn goes well with creamy risotto, and both the corn and the snow peas add a crunch to the finished dish. In addition to the Parmesan that goes into pretty much any risotto, I crumbled feta in right at the end and sprinkled some on top of the risotto. It was a delicious and filling summery dish, and (bonus!) I was able to make fried and stuffed risotto balls with the copious leftovers.
Since risotto is a dish that needs to be made in large amounts I am always able to make at least three meals out of a batch, but this time I decided to play around and make risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella and fried. The result was arguably even better than the risotto was when I first made it. The cold risotto is mixed with breadcrumbs, egg, and more herbs, then a cube of mozzarella or other melty cheese is placed in the middle of a golf-ball sized risotto ball, and they are rolled in more breadcrumbs and fried to golden brown perfection. These would make a great appetizer or starter at a party, but for me, several of them made an extremely satisfying dinner.
Fresh Corn and Snap Pea Risotto
6 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2-3 ears of corn)
5 oz snow peas, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup crumbled Feta chees
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
After chopping the vegetables, bring the chicken stock and bay leaf to a simmer in a medium saucepan. In a large pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the oil and sautee for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Next add the rice and cook until opaque, about 3 minutes. Add wine and cook until absorbed, another minute or so. Then begin adding the stock, 1 cup at a time. Add each cup of stock and cook over medium heat until absorbed, stirring frequently. When the stock is absorbed into the rice add the next cup, and continue until all of the stock is gone and risotto is cooked, about 25 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan, butter, basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Crumble the feta into the risotto and mix in, then sprinkle plates with more feta if desired.
Stuffed Risotto Balls
Adapted from Giada de Laurentis’ Everyday Italian
Serves 4-6 (I assume as an appetizer, as I ate all of mine.)
2 cups cooked and cooled risotto
1 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
Vegetable oil for frying
Put 1 cup of breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. In a bowl combine 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs, the risotto, Parmesan, basil, and eggs. Mix to combine, and then begin to form the balls. With damp hands take about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture and shape into golf-ball sized balls. Make an indent in the center of the risotto ball and add a cube of mozzarella, then cover the whole. Roll the risotto balls into the breadcrumbs to coat. In a large saucepan, add about an inch of vegetable oil. Heat over medium-high heat until about 350 degrees- to test without a thermometer fry a piece of bread in the oil, it should brown in about 2 minutes. In batches, fry the rice balls, turning occasionally, until golden brown- about 4-5 minutes. Take out of the oil and drain on paper towels before serving.