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Risotto with Corn, Spicy Sausage, and Wilted Arugula

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Serves four to six as a main course.

  • by Maryellen Driscoll from Fine Cooking
    Issue 100

This warming risotto studded with fresh corn kernels and spicy arugula bridges the transition from summer to fall.

  • 6 cups lower-salt chicken broth; more as needed
  • 3 medium ears fresh corn, shucked and halved crosswise
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 packed cups trimmed arugula
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium leek (white and light-green parts only), finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 lb. hot Italian pork sausage, casings removed and broken into chunks
  • 2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (like Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano; more for serving
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the corn and cook until the kernels are just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the corn to a cutting board and reduce the heat to keep the broth hot but not simmering.

Once the corn is cool enough to handle, slice the kernels off four of the pieces. Grate the kernels from the remaining two pieces using the large holes of a box grater. Discard the cobs.

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large, heavy saucepan or medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the arugula and toss with tongs until wilted, about 1 minute. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer the arugula to a cutting board, let it cool slightly, and then coarsely chop it. Wipe the pan clean.

Melt the butter in the cleaned pan over medium heat. Add the leek and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the sausage, breaking it apart with a fork or spoon into crumbles, and cook until no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated with fat and the edges become translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir until it’s absorbed, about 30 seconds. Stir in the grated corn.

Ladle enough of the hot broth into the pan to barely cover the rice, about 1-1/2 cups. Bring to a boil and then adjust the heat to maintain a lively simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broth is mostly absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Continue adding broth in 1/2-cup increments, stirring occasionally and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next.

After about 20 minutes, the rice should be just cooked but still fairly firm. At this point, add the whole corn kernels, chopped arugula, and another 1/2 cup broth. Continue to simmer and stir until the corn is warmed through and the rice is just tender to the tooth, an additional 1 to 3 minutes. Stir in another splash of broth if the risotto seems too thick. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the risotto immediately with a sprinkling of cheese and parsley, if using.

Serving Suggestions

Get a double hit of arugula with a Tomato & Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 530; Fat (g): 19; Fat Calories (kcal): 170; Saturated Fat (g): 8; Protein (g): 18; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): 73; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): 610; Cholesterol (mg): 25; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Made the recipe as it was written. Used a little more sausage than it called for and will use slightly more next time. Made it with the heirloom cherry tomato, fennel and arugula salad. Excellent dinner but time consuming. Will definitely make it again.

I served this for guests and everyone raved about it! Definitely a keeper. I also didn't cook the corn or arugula ahead of time but still turned out great.

We loved this. Just put in the grated corn (extra was served on the side due to fussy mixers) but it was outstanding - everyone loved it.

This was delicious but a lot of work. Could have been simplified as recommended by other review, no need to precook fresh corn or wilt baby arugula.

I wanted to like this much more than I did. Unfortunately, the taste didn't outweigh the effort.

I thought that this was very tasty. I also think it's quicker and tastier to not pre cook the corn. This just increases the chances of overcooking it. I also did not cook the arugula ahead of time, instead adding it at the last minute and it nicely wilted into the dish. Lastly I think its nice to add the cobs of corn (after the corn is cut off) to the chicken broth. Especially if grating seems a pain the same thickening and taste comes from simmering the cobs. I grated and then put the cobs in the broth and it had a wonderful corn flavor. I topped with fresh garden tomatoes and this dish ended up being a wonderful taste of summer!

We really enjoyed this risotto. The fresh corn adds a lot with its texture. We didn't feel that the grated corn was worth the effort. I cooked some of the sausage with the risotto, but cooked most in its own dish because I thought it would be overdone.

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