Corn and shiitake risotto

Gluten Free, Vegetarian

2 Servings, 590 Calories/Serving

35 Minutes

Broth is the foundation of every great risotto and making one from scratch is easier than you think. In this recipe, Chef Justine uses corn cobs, leek tops, and dried mushrooms to make a vegetarian base that echoes the main ingredients of the risotto to add an unusual depth of flavor with very little effort.


  • 2 ears corn
  • ½ ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 leek
  • ¼ pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • Small bunch basil
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup grated pecorino



Make the stock

Husk the corn. Cut the kernels from the cob. Break the cobs in half and add to a 4-quart saucepot with 4 cups water and the dried shiitakes.
Trim the root and the tough green top from the leek. Halve the white and green portions lengthwise, keeping them separate. Cut into roughly 1-inch pieces, rinse and add the green portions to the pot.
Trim the stems from the fresh shiitakes and to the pot with 1 teaspoon salt, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until flavorful, about 15 minutes. While the broth cooks: prep the risotto.


Make the risotto

In a 4-quart saucepot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the white part of the leek, season with salt, and cook until tender about 5 minutes. Peel and chop the garlic. Add to the pot and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and cook until opaque, about 3 minutes. Add 1/3 cup white wine, if using, and cook until completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Slice the mushroom caps and add to the rice. Strain the warm vegetable stock directly into the pan. (Discard the corn cobs, leek top, and mushrooms stems.) Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.
  • While the risotto cooks:
  • Rinse and dry the basil. Cut the leaves into thin strips.
  • Zest the lemon.



Stir the corn kernels, basil, lemon zest,and pecorino into the risotto. Ladle into bowls and serve.

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