Pan-Roasted Corn & Baby Shiitake Mushroom Risotto

This beautifully-fragrant risotto makes delicious use of bright summer corn.

Ingredients:
1½ cups Arborio rice
3 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup baby Shiitake mushrooms, washed and trimmed
5 cups F&L chicken stock
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 French red shallots, minced
¼ cup dry white wine
¼ cup freshly-grated Grana-style cheese
3 tablespoons combined freshly-chopped parsley and chives
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil over moderately high heat. Lower the heat to keep the stock at a low simmer.

2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the corn and mushrooms and cook until all are lightly browned and softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are thoroughly coated with fat, 1-2 minutes. Pour in the wine and continue stirring until most of the wine has evaporated.

3. Add 1 cup of the simmering stock to the rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring the risotto until the stock is absorbed before adding more; the risotto is done when the rice is just tender and the sauce is creamy, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cheese, herbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Variation: This risotto is also delicious topped with crispy chopped bacon!

Ratatouille

This rustic Provencal dish is summer in a bowl, crafted with zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes.

Ingredients:
2 cups diced eggplant, skin on
2 cups mixed sweet peppers, seeded and diced
2 cups zucchini, diced
1½ cups heirloom tomatoes, seeded and diced
1½ cups diced Walla Walla sweet onion
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Set a large stock pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Add the eggplant and thyme to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is partially cooked, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and zucchini and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for a final 5 minutes. Stir well to blend and serve either hot or at room temperature.

Chilled Tomato Soup

Sweet and deeply flavorful, this chilled soup from Martha Stewart is perfect for a hot summer’s night.

Ingredients:
6 mixed sweet peppers
2½ pounds heirloom tomatoes
1 Walla Walla sweet onion, minced
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Fresh herbs for garnish, such as chopped parsley, thyme and oregano

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the peppers and tomatoes on a baking sheet, and roast until they are slightly charred, about 30 minutes.

2. Peel, and core the peppers and tomatoes. Transfer the flesh to the jar of a blender; set aside.

3. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil. Add onion, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add to the blender, and purée until smooth. Pass the mixture through a food mill fitted with a medium disk into a large bowl. Stir in the stock, orange juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate until chilled. Serve garnished with herbs.

Summer Ribollita

Inspired by a recipe found in the Lark: Cooking Against the Grain cookbook, this ribollita celebrates the beautiful vegetables of summer.

Ingredients:
1 cup summer squash, cut into ½-inch dice
1 cup tomatoes, cored and cut into ½-inch dice
¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup green beans, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup rainbow Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves cut into 2-inch strips
½ jarred cooked cannellini beans, drained of brine
2 slices of day-old bread, lightly toasted and torn into bite-size pieces
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
¼ cup dry white wine
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons torn basil leaves, for finishing
Pistou (see recipe)

Method:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until lightly golden, about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until softened but not brown. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to maintain a simmer and let wine reduce slightly, 1-2 minutes.

2. Add the summer squash, all the tomatoes and green beans. Stir in the bread pieces, kale and the cannellini beans.

3. Add the 4 cups of chicken stock and then season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to maintain a simmer. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

4. To serve, stir 3 tablespoons of the pistou sauce into the ribollita and immediately ladle into serving bowls. Sprinkle the basil over the ribollita and then add a healthy grating of Grana-style cheese. Serve with the additional pistou on the side.

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