Pay·off (noun, informal):
- the advantage or benefit that is gained from doing something
- the return on an investment
To me, risotto is the one recipe I make with the biggest payoff. You spend hours stirring, adding chicken stock, adjusting the temperature, testing the rice, etc. And, if you practice the dish a million times and get it just right, the end result is worth all of the time and energy you’ve put into it.
And then I tried Shutterbean’s Baked Corn & Tomato Risotto and all of that went out the window.
You see, this recipe is genius. It takes all of the heavy lifting of making risotto right into the oven. You can literally set it and forget it; throw the whole thing in the oven and walk away. And it will be just as perfect as it would be if you stirred until your arm fell off. My definition of payoff just shifted from hard labor to oven delegation.
Baked Corn Risotto (makes 8 servings, adapted from Shutterbean’s Baked Corn & Tomato Risotto)
2 cups fresh corn (about 2 cobs)
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flake
2 tbsp. butter
2 cups Arborio rice
32 oz. low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1.25 cups water
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
A few tsp. of olive oil for sauteing
Salt & pepper to taste
Start by sauteing the onions with a bit of olive oil over medium heat. When they are translucent and the edges have browned, add the corn and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
While the onion and corn are cooking, slice the leek into half moons, let sit in a big bowl of cool water for 1-2 minutes so all the grit falls away, drain, and saute in olive oil over medium heat until browned. This can be done in the same pan as the onion/corn, I just have small pans so divided them up.
While the veggies are cooking, measure the rice and then pour into a large baking dish. A big casserole sized dish (9×13) should do nicely.
When the veggies are done (soft and browned), scoop into the baking dish on top of the rice.
Pour in the stock and water.
Add 1 tbsp. butter, parm cheese, and all of the seasonings. Stir to combine as best you can.
Bake on 350 degrees for 45 minutes. At the halfway point give the risotto a stir and add the second tablespoon of butter. The risotto is done when all the liquids have been absorbed and the rice is cooked through. If after 45 minutes the texture of the rice still hard, add in a bit of water and return to the oven for a few minutes.
This risotto will come out of the oven perfectly al dente, creamy, and full of flavor.
Top with an extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese and serve. This risotto is perfect right out of the oven or stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days.