When you're home from the farmers market with a fresh haul of summer produce and craving a comforting dinner, pull out your Dutch oven and some arborio rice, because risotto is in order. Start with whatever veggies and herbs you picked up and before long you'll be stirring them into a pot of creamy rice bathed in a light and creamy white wine sauce. This veggie-filled risotto template is perfect for simple weeknight dinners or as a fast and fancy meal when hosting friends.
Here's What to Pick Up at the Farmers Market
You can pick up nearly everything for this dish from the market. Look for onion, garlic, green beans, summer squash, corn, tomatoes, and herbs. Depending on your market you might even be able to get the Pecorino cheese. The remaining few ingredients are all pantry staples that you likely already have at home, plus you'll need a splash of white wine. A variety of vegetables will not only make for a more colorful bowl of risotto, but it also changes up the texture, which makes dinner more interesting.
- Green beans
- Summer squash
- Any herb
The basic template for farmers market risotto:
3 or more veggies from the list above + any herb + rice + classic brothy sauce with cheese
Can't find something on the list of ingredients, or spot something different at the market that's too good to pass up? No problem! This risotto is a template rather than a recipe, so revisions are encouraged. It's more important to pay attention to the building blocks you need to make it.
How to Pick the Best Corn
The first, and arguably most important, thing you need to know about picking the best ears of corn at the farmers market is that you do not need to peel back the entire husk. Instead, squeeze the whole cob to check for soft spots, which is a sign of missing or overripe kernels, and avoid corn with any little brown holes in the husk, which can be a sign of insects. Take note of the tassel (the topmost part of the ear of corn where the silks shoot out); it should look clean and smell sweet. If it's at all black or mushy, it's a sign that the corn has been around for too long.
Know your corn etiquette: 5 Tips for Proper Farmers Market (and Grocery Store) Corn Etiquette
The Most Flavorful Beans Are Blanched in Broth
Because they have a more firm, crisp bite, green beans benefit from being blanched before getting stirred into the pot of risotto. A few minutes in boiling cooking liquid mellows their texture, leaving them tender and with an extra-vibrant, bright-green hue. Here we're swapping the traditional pot of salted boiling water with stock (your choice of chicken or vegetable). You'll be heating it for the risotto anyway, so we're taking advantage of that to bring even more flavor to the green beans.
Always Buy Fresh Herbs at the Farmers Market!
PSA: Do not leave the farmers market without a bunch of fresh herbs (any type of herb!) in your tote! Not only are they stocked in abundance and totally inexpensive right now, but it's also a small addition that makes such a big difference in just about any recipe.
Farmers Market Risotto
7 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground white or black pepper
2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 small zucchini or summer squash, or combination (about 8 ounces)
2 medium ears corn, kernels cut off
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, mint, cilantro, dill, parsley, or tarragon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pecorino cheese shavings (optional)
Bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the green beans and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beans to a medium bowl; set aside. Turn the heat to low to keep the broth at a very low simmer.
Heat the butter and oil in a large, wide pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and toast, stirring occasionally, until the kernels start to make a crackling sound, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, stirring often, until completely absorbed, 2 to 4 minutes.
Pour a ladleful of the simmering broth over the rice. Let simmer, stirring frequently, until the rice absorbs the liquid. Continue adding broth a ladleful at a time, stirring and letting it absorb, until the rice is al dente, 20 to 30 minutes (you might not use up all of the broth).
When the rice is almost ready (2 to 3 minutes before), stir in the summer squash, corn, and tomatoes, and continue cooking. When the rice is al dente, remove from the heat and stir in the reserved green beans, grated Pecorino, lemon juice, and herbs. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately, topped with Pecorino shavings if using.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Farmers Market Suppers
Shopping the farmers market for seasonal veggies and herbs is one of the greatest joys of summer. It's so easy to get excited by all the fresh produce of the moment and fill a tote with a little bit of everything. If you don't have a plan, figuring out what to do with your haul once you get home can feel a little overwhelming. This series will help change that. We're sharing five versatile and delicious templates that will teach you how to turn any farmers market purchase into dinner.
These photos were shot at The Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers Market in Flemington, New Jersey.