Monday, 17 October 2011

Snigdha's Sweetcorn and Dolcelatte Risotto

Serves 2

16 fresh sage leaves
4-5 tbsp finely freshly grated parmesan cheese
75g Dolcelatte cheese (or equivalent, like Saint Agur or Gorgonzola), crumbled or cubed
2 cobs of sweetcorn
1 small onion (1 shallot would be preferable), finely diced
2 cloves garlic, very finely diced
750ml stock, preferably homemade (cube made stock will be too salty with the blue cheese)
140g Arborio risotto rice
125ml dry Vermouth
Olive oil

Optional for meat eaters: 100g thinly sliced pancetta


  1. To prepare the corn, working very carefully and with the knife moving away from you, remove the niblets from the cob.

  2. Heat the stock in a pan. Add the corn and cobs. Cook for 5 minutes. Then drain, reserving the stock. Return the stock to the hob, put on a very low heat and cover. Put the niblets in a bowl/dish until it is time to put them in the risotto. Discard the cobs.
  3. Heat about 2tbsp olive oil in a pan (large enough to make the finished dish). Now add the onion and fry gently for 5 mins. 
  4. Now add the garlic to the pan, and fry for another 5 mins. Please do not allow the garlic or onion to brown, lowering the heat if needed.

  5. Add in the rice. Keep stirring and cook for about 1-2 min to coat the rice in the fat and toast it through.

  6. Now add the Vermouth. Increase the heat. Stir frequently until all the alcohol has disappeared. I would say this takes 2-3 mins.

  7. We are now at the stock adding point. Take the lid off the stock pan. Add the first ladle of stock. You will now be 25 mins (or thereabouts) from the rice being cooked and 30 mins from serving up. Set a kitchen timer to 25 mins from this point. Stir the risotto several times until the stock is completely absorbed. Be careful, once the liquid is gone, the rice will be liable to catch and burn on the bottom.

  8. Reduce to a low heat. Add stock, ladle by ladle, stirring as constantly as possible (to release the starch from the rice) as you go.
  9. Once you have 5 mins to go on your timer, add the sweetcorn. You may still need to add in stock, depending on the absorption power of your rice or the power of your hob. Try the rice from time to time to see how soft it has got. It should not taste grainy.
  10. As it gets to a soft cooked texture (a little mushy), stop adding stock. Allow all the remaining liquid to cook off. You do not want any soupy stock at the bottom.
  11. Now turn the heat off. Take pan onto another surface. Add the parmesan. Stir thoroughly into the risotto until mixed. Put lid on pan and allow to rest for 4 mins.
  12. When serving up, put a few small chunks of the blue cheese in the bottom of the serving bowls and top with some risotto. Then add some more, and again, top with more risotto. You want bits of blue cheese dotted through the bowl of risotto, which melt slightly from the heat from the rice.

  13. Now top with the sage leaves (see below) and if you wish, a little extra parmesan.

    To make the sage leaf topping:
    Heat some olive oil in a frying pan (non stick). Add the whole sage leaves. They will sizzle briefly before changing colour. When they have gone a rich dark green, they are done. Dry on kitchen paper.

    Optional topping for meat eaters:

    If you are a meat-eater then dry fry the pancetta in a non-stick pan. You will know it is done when it goes brown and crispy but is not burnt. 

    Remove from the pan and place on a plate covered in kitchen roll to absorb the excess fat. Use to top the dish with the sage leaves.

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