Summer Vegetable Risotto

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

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


  • 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

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 stir rice until wine is absorbed in pot

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 stir risotto until all liquid is absorbed

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 stir summer vegetable risotto in pot

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.

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  • Peggy

    Hello Elise,

    Thank you for your great recipes, what type of white wine do you use?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Peggy, I usually use a dry white wine, like a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

  • Alfredo

    When does the black pepper come in? Anyway, thanks for such a great recipe. =D

    • Elise Bauer

      At the end. I forgot to add that, thank you for letting me know! Recipe has been updated now.

  • Rachel

    I came across this recipe and made it within minutes of finding it! It was absolutely wonderful! I had a bunch of grilled summer veggies leftover from a cookout this weekend and used those! I’ve already passed the recipe on to several people! Thanks so much for sharing!!


  • Michael R.

    5 cups of……water?
    Sorry, all – chicken broth for me.

    • Elise Bauer

      Either way will do; it has a cleaner, fresher taste with water.

  • sylvia

    I was just wondering why water instead of broth? I am totally making this when my Florida CSA gives me sweet corn!

  • Erin

    This recipe is delightful! Thanks for sharing. I didn’t have green onions, so I added in half a yellow onion chopped up and sautéed with the garlic. Yum! I love this seasonal side dish!


  • Kiran @

    I could devour this all day long. So comforting & summery. Thanks for sharing, Elise :)

  • E. Knetzer

    Delicioso! Made this tonight, albeit tweaked (used veg broth, and added fresh parsley and oregano), with seared tilapia topped with your pesto, and steamed garlic broccoli. Almost no leftovers is my sign that it was a hit! I was able to use corn from a friend’s farm, and peppers and herbs from our garden…sigh…there really is no time like the summer. Thank you for simple recipes that allow the flavors of the foods to shine.


  • 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

    • Elise Bauer

      I would say add as much basil as you like! Start with a couple tablespoons and add more if you think it needs more for your taste.

  • 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.

  • giovanna bianco

    Gustoso e raffinato, complimenti.