Risotto with charred corn, pumpkin, goat's cheese and saffron

Risotto with charred corn, pumpkin, goat's cheese and saffron

Risóto may kapsalismeni kalambóki, kolokitha, tiri katsíkiou kai safráni

Lyndey and Blair's Taste of Greece
Chris Chen

Aris from the contemporary Kuzina restaurant in Athens showed me that not all Greek food is traditional. As he cooks to order, he does some pre-preparation with the rice and cooks one portion at a time. Here his recipe is quadrupled to make enough for four people.


Quantity Ingredient
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock, (see Lyndey's note)
good pinch saffron threads
2 cups vialone nano or arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
2-3 fresh corn cobs, kernels removed, (about 230 g kernels)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
300g pumpkin, diced into 1 cm pieces
1 small red onion, chopped
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup grated parmesan
120g soft curd cheese, such as ksinotiri from crete, goat’s curd or smooth ricotta
1/4 cup finely grated myzithra cheese or parmesan
60g butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice, (optional)


  1. Heat 2 cups of the stock in a medium saucepan on the stove or in a container in the microwave until hot.
  2. Infuse the saffron in 1 tablespoon warm water.
  3. Par-cook the rice by combining the rice, a pinch of salt and the wine in a medium saucepan over a medium–high heat. Evaporate off the wine, and then add the hot stock. Boil for 4 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat and spread the rice out on a baking tray to cool quickly. Set the rice aside.
  4. Place a large heavy-based saucepan over a high heat and heat until the saucepan is hot. Add the corn kernels to the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the corn smells toasted, chars and begins to pop. Add the oil, stir to coat the corn kernels, then add the pumpkin, onion and cooled rice and mix well.
  5. Add the remaining cold stock, softened saffron and sultanas and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice and vegetables are tender.
  6. Stir in the parmesan, soft curd cheese, half of the myzithra cheese and the butter. Taste, and if using ricotta, which doesn’t have the acid of a goat's cheese, add lemon juice to taste. Serve topped with the remaining myzithra cheese.

Lyndey’s note

  • During a fasting period, such as Lent, vegetable stock is used. Aris uses hot stock for the first cooking of the rice and cold for the second so that the rice doesn’t overcook.
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