Summer Vegetable Risotto

Italian risotto made with summer vegetables such as corn, bell peppers, green onions and basil.

Summer Garden Risotto
Elise Bauer

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 vegetables — bell peppers, corn, and basil.

Enjoy it now, while we still have a few days of summer left!

Summer Vegetable Risotto

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin 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 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)


  1. Heat the water:

    Bring the water to a simmer in a small pot.

  2. Sauté garlic and rice in olive oil:

    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.

    lightly toast dry rice in pot to start risotto
    Elise Bauer
  3. Add the wine:

    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 white wine to summer vegetable risotto in pot
    Elise Bauer
    stir rice until wine is absorbed in pot
    Elise Bauer
  4. Start adding water, a cup at a time:

    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.

    add water to risotto in pot
    Elise Bauer
    stir risotto until all liquid is absorbed
    Elise Bauer
  5. Add the corn and bell pepper:

    When the second cup of water is absorbed, add the corn and red bell pepper.

    add corn and peppers to summer vegetable risotto in pot
    Elise Bauer
    stir summer vegetable risotto in pot
    Elise Bauer

    Add another cup of water and stir until it is absorbed.

    Repeat with another cup of water and another healthy pinch of salt.

  6. Stir in the green onions and Parmesan:

    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.

  7. Stir in the basil and butter, and sprinkle with black pepper to taste:

    Once the butter has melted, serve at once.

Summer Vegetable Risotto
Elise Bauer