Lobster mushroom, sweet corn and watercress risotto

This is the best time of year. The weather is up to its typical late summer bipolar antics, and while I still have sweet Silver Queen corn down here in the Valley (thanks to sunny days), the mountains are cooling off enough in the evenings that lobster mushrooms have made their way into my neighborhood fancy grocery store.

Scott had a bee in his bonnet for some lemony chicken and risotto, and even though those are a springtime jones, such is his wantlessness that I tend to cater to his every (infrequent) craving. And despite the fact that our garden is a cornucopian money-shot of nightshades (six tomato varieties for a dozen plants total, four chile varieties and an eggplant), this third trimester heartburn started kicking in today, and I just didn’t feel like one more helping of spaghetti Margherita (with a masochistic craving for extra chile flake).

I melted some butter in the pan while I thawed some homemade chicken stock (frozen in June), and sweated a quarter of a tiny red onion with two minced garlic cloves. I added a drib of olive oil to prevent the butter from browning and added one fist-sized lobster mushroom, sliced and broken into bite-sized pieces. I tossed in a couple handfuls of arborio rice and stirred it around, doing the “making risotto” thing until time to add a glass of chardonnay (now that I’m getting late in the pregnancy, I’m not afraid to taste the wine that goes into my cooking). I added splashes of the rich chicken stock, stirring lovingly, and then added an ear’s worth of corn cut fresh from the cob.

A few fat pinches of lemon zest went in at the end, along with some fresh thyme and a few handfuls of chopped watercress. The peppery, nasturtium verdure of the watercress slapped the sleepy, smalltown white carbs right in the kisser, the mineral parsley gave it some backbone, and a sprinkling of crumbly fat and salt Parmigiano Reggiano gave it cheeks.

Enjoy with a crispy pear cider, or I suppose a nice Gew├╝rztraminer, if you had one laying around.