Zucchini Risotto with a Sweet Corn and Baby Spinach Broth - Finished with Mascarpone, Lemon Oil, and Pine NutsSweet Corn Broth + Spinach Addition: makes 5 cups broth, 2 cups spinach-zucchini liquid
2 cobs of corn, stripped of corn kernels, (reserve for risotto)
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
6 cups water
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tb kosher salt
2-3 zucchini, cut lengthwise, inner white parts cored—makes about 2 cups (reserve hollowed out zucchini shells for risotto)
1 cup or large handful baby spinach
Add water to a 4-quart stockpot with lid. Add the corn cobs, chopped carrot, garlic and 1/2 tb kosher salt to the pot, once at a full boil, drop the heat to low, cover with lid, and simmer for one hour.
Once broth has simmered, grab a pair of tongs and a utensil large enough to scrape the remaining juices from the ears of corn into the liquid. This will help release every last drop of sweetness from the corn into the pot, yielding maximum flavor. Remove cobs, then strain liquid and remaining contents through a fine mesh sieve. Return the liquid to the pot and reserve. Otherwise, cool the broth to room temperature and refrigerate.
Next, add the spinach, inner white zucchini scraps, remaining 1/2 tablespoon of salt, and 2 tb of the reserved broth to a food processor. Pulse on high until mixture is even and yields a really smooth consistency. Pour the purée into a small saucepot and hold on low if ready to make risotto, or store for later use. * Spinach-zucchini purée is kept separate from corn broth to be able to control color of risotto.Zucchini Risotto: makes 4 servings
2 tb butter
2-3 zucchini, green sides only, finely diced
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 tb kosher salt, + some to adjust seasoning
1/2 tb good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cup vialone nano, or substitute with similar short grain, starchy rice such as carnaroli or arborio
1/2 cup good dry white wine, a buttery chardonay will do the trick
5 cups sweet corn broth, simmering
2 cups spinach + zucchini puree—very low heat (must maintain this bright green color!)
1 tb butter
1/3 cup mascarpone
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tb pine nuts
salt and pepper
Garnish: basil leaves + drops of lemon oil or desired finishing oil + lemon zest strips + a few pine nuts per serving
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed 3 quart skillet or sautoir over medium to high heat. Add the diced zucchini and corn kernels to the pan and season with a 1/2 tb kosher salt. Cook until tender and slightly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan onto side dish and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the rice and stir until the rice is coated with the oil. Add the white wine and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the wine is absorbed by the rice. Ladle about a 1/2 cup of the corn broth into the saucepan and stir until it is absorbed. Continue with 4 to 5 more additions, adding more liquid to the absorbed rice. Next ladle 1/2 cup of the simmering spinach puree into the mixture and stir until it is absorbed. When 3/4 of the liquids have been used, about 12 minutes, stir in the reserved sauteed zucchini and corn. Continue to alternate ladling and stirring in remaining broth and purée, about 10 minutes. The grains of rice should be al dente and result in the characteristic risotto creaminess. Also, a vibrant green hue should be acquired.
And in the most fulfilling step, fold in the butter and mascarpone, trading in the risotto’s bright hue for a light and creamy green one. Stir in the parmesan, lemon zest, and be sure to season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Transfer to serving plates, garnish with basil, lemon oil, zest, and pine nuts. Enjoy.