Saving September + White Risotto with Corn, Carrots and Kale

Its been over a decade since I was in college, but something about this weekend reminded me of my first September at the University of Missouri, and my inaugural Saturday game day. So excited to join the ranks of collegians, I dressed up in crispy new jeans and a cozy cardigan—a look borrowed from J-Crew. Not long after joining my new friends in the bleachers, I found the beating sun explained why the older girls wore sundresses instead. In Missouri, summer hangs on.

In New York, autumn reigns. At our Saturday market in Socrates Sculpture Park, the crowd was unapologetically bundled in snug sweaters, sporting the seasons newest boots. Dozens of hands passed over peaches for pumpkins. I adore fall foods, but for the first time I can remember, the concord grapes and plums, heaped in their green cardboard cartons, are just barely tempting. We have plenty of time for that, I think. Its only early September.

How wrong I am. After an hour in the park in thin layers, we had to retreat home and start again—Greta in a sweater dress and tights. Tights! At the market, she reached directly for the plums and concords—her wiser internal radar insisting its time to move on. So we filled our basket with them. But, there was still corn. And tomatoes. Proof that summer really happened, and just days ago.  

Im grabbing hold of those ears, 50-cents a-piece regardless, shaving their kernels over warm bowls of risotto with Lacinato kale and young purple carrots. And, since it could very well be my last for a while, Im even pouring a chilled glass of rose for Sunday lunch.

I'll come around. Back at home from the park, where Id left the windows wide open out of summer habit, I cooked a pot of warm applesauce, heady with cinnamon, to warm us. Ill admit, its helping me turn the corner. But slowly.....slowly. One spoonful at a time. 

White Risotto with Corn, Carrots and Kale

Serves 2 to 4
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus for cooking vegetables
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups hot water {or organic chicken broth}
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus for garnish
1 to 2 ears corn, to preference, kernels shaved from the cob
1 bunch young heirloom carrots, trimmed and scrubbed, halved lengthwise if large
1 small bunch Lacinato (Tuscan) kale

Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Stir in the wine and cook until the wine has evaporated, 1 minute more. 

Stir in 2 cups of the hot water {or broth}, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and keep at a simmer, removing the lid to stir occasionally, until rice is al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes. Most of the liquid should be absorbed and the rice just cooked.

While the rice cooks, heat another tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the carrots and brown slightly in the oil. Add enough water to come about 1/3 of the way up the carrots and cook until just fork tender, but still deep in color. Add the kale and stir to wilt, 5 minutes more. Add the corn and cook until the kernels turn bright yellow but are still crisp, 1 minute more. Season the vegetables well and use a slotted spoon to remove them from the liquid.

Stir in another 1/2 cup hot cups of water to the risotto as needed; add the butter and cheese and stir. Stir in the vegetables, or serve the risotto in bowls topped with warm vegetables and coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. 

All Photos © Sarah Copeland 2012


Kate Ramos said...

This looks delicious. Alas I think corn is out of the question here in North Dakota but I absolutely have the other ingredients!

Kasey said...

This sounds so good, Sarah! We're definitely straddling summer and fall - at the market this weekend I picked up some super sweet peaches AND a few heirloom squashes. I never think to add these types of veggies to risotto - thank you for the inspiration!

Unknown said...

Summer is holding on with a force down here in Southern California so this is perfect for our weather. Gorgeous, gorgeous pics!

Sarah Copeland said...

Thanks Kate! I was thinking slow-roasted tomatoes with the kale would be fabulous, or avocado and carrots. I think I'll have to make risotto again this week.

Kasey, I LOVE the straddle of summer and fall. Hanging on to tomatoes and I'm playing with them and heirloom squashes. Where you do live? The south, right? Our peaches were so so this year but I'll never get over a good Memphis peach.

Thanks everyone for stopping in and the kind thoughts!

With Style and Grace said...

what a gorgeous dish!! I love how you used vegetables in this dish, such an elegant meal.

My photo
New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.