Summer Garden Risotto

Just when the days begin to get noticeably shorter, and the air cooler, we get hit with a heat wave that reminds us that yes, it is still officially summer, even though every kid you know is back in school. The basil in the garden is so full, it’s spilling over the garden bed walls. Even the monster cucumber plant can’t keep it down. There is still plenty of corn to choose from at the farmer’s market, as well as bright shades of colorful bell peppers. Here’s a simple risotto that showcases the best of the summer garden bell peppers, corn, and basil. Enjoy it now, while we still have a few days of summer left!

Summer Garden Risotto Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio or other risotto rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 5 cups hot water
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (small dice)
  • 2 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 10-12 basil leaves, torn up small
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (optional)


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1 Bring the water to a simmer in a small pot. In another pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the olive oil is shimmery hot, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and coat with the olive oil. Sauté, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes, at which point the rice will begin to smell nutty.

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2 Add the white wine to the rice and stir. From this point on, you will be stirring the risotto rice almost constantly. After a minute or two the rice will have absorbed the wine and when you stir, the spoon will leave streaks on the bottom of the pan. Add a cup of the hot water to the pot. Add a generous pinch of salt. Stir until the water has been absorbed by the rice and your spoon is again leaving a trail at the bottom of the pan. Add another cup of hot water and repeat.

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3 When this second cup of water is absorbed, add the corn and red bell pepper. Add another cup of water and stir until it is absorbed. Repeat with another cup of water and another healthy pinch of salt.

4 By now the rice should be close to being done; it should be fully cooked but still al dente, a little firm, not completely soft. When the rice reaches this stage, stir in the green onions and grated parmesan. When the water has been completely absorbed, add a little more water so the risotto is loose. The risotto should fill a bowl, not sit on a plate.

5 Stir in the basil and butter, and sprinkle with black pepper to taste . Once the butter has melted, serve at once.

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Risotto Primavera, from The Pioneer Woman

Tomato, Basil and Spinach Risotto, from Iowa Girl Eats

Nettle Risotto, from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Summer Garden Risotto on Simply Recipes

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Showing 4 of 16 Comments

  • Helene D'souza

    We have summer weather the whole year round so we can enjoy your risotto anytime. Lovely recipe!

  • giovanna bianco

    Gustoso e raffinato, complimenti.

  • mantha

    Oh, how pretty and delicious that looks. I could eat that for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I appreciate how precisely you are timing the entrances of the various vegetable ingredients. It’s so worth it for the beautiful textures that complement the flavor and look of this dish.

  • Kathie Brinkman

    I’d like to make this soon given my ample supply of basil but I’m uncertain about the amount of basil to use. I grow a very small leaf variety and it’s delicious but I don’t know how to translate the 10-12 leaves called for in the recipe.

    Would that be a couple tablespoons, chopped?

    Thank you – Kathie

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