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Fresh Corn and Crab Risotto

Fresh Corn and Crab Risotto

This luxurious crab risotto combines sweet crab and corn with sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano in a creamy dish that will leave you asking for more.

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I’ve been in Seattle for a week now and I can’t believe my luck weather-wise: sunny and hot every day—not the usual in the Emerald State capital. I’m visiting my brother who’s been living here for 10 years, as well as his family: wife, daughter and son. Since he moved here, I’ve been visiting him almost every year so driving down the streets and highways around the city feel somewhat like home.

Yet a clear sign that I’m not (yet) blasé is that I gasp every time I see the massive and impressive Mt. Rainier towering over the region. At a height of 4,392 meters, this guardian can be seen from the city only on bright and clear days, which from what I hear is only a couple dozen days per year. The best places to view it are from the Space Needle, from the airport or, ironically, from Highway 520 (which can be dangerous if you’re peeking at it while driving, like I’ve been doing all week).

As parents living far away from relatives, my brother and his wife don’t take too much time off on their own. I’ve enjoyed my brother’s master skills on the barbecue but on Tuesday, it was my sister-in-law’s birthday and I decided to give her a break. Cooking in someone else’s kitchen is always a challenge, but she loves to cook and is very well equipped (Sharp knives! Heavy-bottom pans! Gas stove! Sea salt!). Really, the only challenge was to decide what I would cook.

One of my fail-proof and go-to recipes is risotto and I love to mix things up every time I cook it by changing the flavorings. Being on the West Coast, I couldn’t help but being seduced by Alaskan King Crab and I decided I would marry it to longtime friend fresh corn (which also happens to be in season).

With my faithful point & shoot cam (my attempt to travel light!), I snapped pictures as I stirred, thinking it could be useful for many to visualize the key steps to ultimate creaminess. It’s very hard to completely fail risotto but getting it really creamy without the addition of butter or cream demands to carefully follow steps that can’t be fast-forwarded. This crab and corn flavor combination turned out perfect and will probably become a staple.

The basic recipe is simple:

  • Precook your protein and keep it warm
  • Half-cook or warm your vegetables (keep warm)
  • Cook your risotto base
  • At mid-point, stir in your vegetables
  • When the rice is al dente, incorporate your protein
  • Stir in the cheese and serve

Sometimes I prepare my vegetables and protein as I cook the risotto base, but most often, I like to have everything ready by the stove. Then all I have to do is watch over my risotto, stir it and mix the ingredients in.

The use of high-quality ingredients is the first step to the best risotto. Use only Italian risotto rice, preferably the Arborio or Carnaroli varieties. This short-grain rice contains a lot of starch, which makes the risotto creamy – not cream, nor butter.



Fresh Corn and Crab Risotto //

Fresh Corn and Crab Risotto

This luxurious crab risotto combines sweet crab and corn with sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano in a creamy dish that will leave you asking for more.
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:20 mins
Total Time:30 mins
Servings 4 servings
Author Marie Asselin,



  • In a large saucepan, bring the chicken to a boil. Turn the heat down to very low, just to keep it hot. Cover.
  • Set a large saute pan or a braiser over low heat. Add the olive oil and butter to the hot pan, then add the onion and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.
  • Add the rice to the pan and stir it with the onion mixture. Saute the rice for a minute until it looks translucent (the inner grain will remain opaque).
  • Add the wine and stir constantly until fully absorbed by the rice.
  • Add a first ladle of hot stock to the pan, always keeping the heat to low (if the liquid isn’t simmering when you pour it into the pan, increase the heat to medium-low). Stir from time to time. When most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, add another ladle of broth. Keep going until half of the stock has been used.
  • Add the corn kernels and stir to combine.
  • Continue adding the stock, one ladle at a time, always stirring and waiting for it to be absorbed before adding more. When there's just one or two ladles left, taste the risotto.
    Risotto rice is ready when it’s al dente: just like pasta, risotto should be soft and chewy and still retain some texture. If it’s still a bit crunchy, add more broth a little at a time, tasting often to make sure it doesn’t overcook and become mushy.
  • Add the Parmigiano Reggiano and stir until fully incorporated and creamy. Add a bit more stock to loosen the risotto if needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.
  • Gently stir the crab meat to keep the lumps intact.
  • SERVING: Spoon the risotto into warm bowls. Garnish with fresh thyme or basil leaves, additional grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a drizzle of top-quality extra-virgin olive oil. Enjoy right away.

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Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins


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