Alrighty, friends….comin’ at you with something fresh and summery today. My Corn and Basil Risotto Salad is so fresh and flavorful, I can’t even explain it. You’ll just have to cook it and see for yourself! Even more exciting, it’s one of my favorite summer dishes because you can switch it up any ol’ which way you want to feed your favorite summertime cravings. The only key here is the use of Risotto, a.k.a. Arborio rice as the base, but then you can get creative.
What I love about this “salad” is that it’s reminiscent of a pasta salad that you can eat for lunch or as a side for dinner, room-temp or cold, and it works perfectly well to make ahead in a large batch and pull it out when the time is right or the car is packed for that summer weekend road-trip. While pasta is good, rice gives it a nice change AND keeps it gluten-free, which is especially helpful anytime you’re feeding a crowd these days.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with risotto, known for being rich, “creamy” and cheesy. So good, I know! But, I discovered another way to utilize risotto rice a few years back and I’m a fan of this method for hot weather cooking, ‘cuz who really wants to stir a pot of risotto for 40 minutes when it’s 90 degrees outside? No one, that’s who. Absolutely no one.
Instead of stirring and waiting, just boil and strain! It’s literally as easy as one, two, pasta! Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, then stir in about 1 cup of arborio rice. Boil it for 12-15 minutes, until the grain is tender to the bite, but not mushy. Strain, then spread in a thin layer on a large plate or small sheet pan to let cool.
While your rice cools down, prep your veggies. Today I’m sharing my combination of corn kernels shaved fresh off the cob right into a large mixing bowl, along with diced cumber, sliced green onion, lemon zest and juice, extra virgin olive oil, freshly chopped basil and parsley, plus salt and pepper to taste.
Looks delish, but, don’t forget that part above about getting creative, ‘cuz I seriously mean it! Feel free to change it all up. What’s in your fridge? What’s in the garden? What looks good at the farmer’s market this weekend? No rules, friends, no rules!
For a little added inspiration I’ll share two other favorite combos of mine:
- Prosciutto with Peas and Artichokes.
- Broccoli and Bacon with Pine Nuts.
See? Yum!!! Isn’t exciting when one simple method can turn into so many variations? It’s exciting to me, I admit!
A delightful, summer risotto rice salad packs in freshness and flavor for lunch, dinner or your weekend road-trip!
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 lemon – juice and zest
- 2 cups freshly shaved corn kernels off the cob, about 2-3 cobs worth
- 1 cup cucumber, diced small
- 1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a large saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Once boiling, add about 1 tablespoon of salt and stir in the arborio rice. Set a timer for 12 minutes.
- Once timer goes off, check rice for doneness. Texture should be tender, but still with a firm bite. If not quite done yet, cook another 2-3 minutes. Strain.
- To cool rice, spread out in a thin layer on a plate or small sheet pan.
- Meanwhile, shave corn kernels off the cob and set in a large mixing bowl.
- To the corn, add diced cucumber, sliced green onion, chopped basil and parsley. Zest one lemon into the mix as well.
- Once rice is cool to room temp, stir into the bowl of corn and herbs. Stir in olive oil and juice from half the lemon. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve room temp or chill to enjoy cold later.
You can use frozen corn instead of fresh if you prefer. I like to fold the frozen corn into the risotto just after straining the rice so the residual heat helps thaw the kernels.