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Apron Diaries

Risotto Reworked 
Jul. 22, 2009 9:44 pm 
Updated: Aug. 4, 2009 8:21 pm
Risotto gets a bad rap. They say it asks too much of the busy cook because you can’t just pop it into the rice cooker and walk away. No. You’ve got to stir it. And stir it. And stir it. Too labor-intensive, they groan.

Well, I’m not here to dispute the spoon time that goes into making a soul-satisfying risotto, because it's totally worth it. I’m just saying that if you’re going to go there, why not make a little extra and use the leftovers to make delightful little risotto cakes. That’s two knockout dishes from one recipe. And the second dish is so simple it hardly feels like cooking. So it all evens out, right?

Let Them Eat Risotto Cakes

  • Start with this excellent recipe for Gourmet Mushroom Risotto. Yeah, you’re stirring broth into rice for 15 to 20 minutes. But it’s time well spent. Now serve that risotto as is the first night, collect the compliments, and refrigerate the leftovers.
  • The next day, dampen your hands, take a generous scoop of cold risotto, and form it into a small ball, pressing the rice together. Let’s call it golf ball-size. Flatten it into a patty. Repeat, laying them in a single layer on a dish or pan as you go.
  • Now here’s the thing—risotto is supposed to be cooked with enough broth to make it a bit wet and creamy, and not fluffy like most other rice dishes. It’s this moisture that’s now going to make the leftover rice sticky enough to hold the patty together. Chill the patties while you get the rest of your meal going.
  • Ready? Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Fry the patties until they’re golden and a bit crisp on one side. Turn them over and fry the other side. It's that easy.
You shouldn’t have to drain them on paper towels because you used so little oil—and besides, they tend to stick to the paper. I learned this the hard way.

Sprinkle hot risotto cakes with Parmesan cheese and serve with eggs for breakfast, on top of a fresh green salad for lunch, or as a side dish with something really juicy like roast chicken. I’ve also topped risotto cakes with chopped tomato and basil, or maybe a little goat cheese. It’s all good.

So there you go. Risotto once. Risotto twice. Risotto very, very nice.

Now it’s your turn to share a one-recipe-two-dish wonder. I'd love to hear your ideas.

Thanks for dropping in, and happy cooking.
Risotto Cakes
Photo Detail
Jul. 22, 2009 10:46 pm
Why in the world have I never thought to do this? I absolutely love risotto, any way, shape, and now form. We do this with mashed potatoes, why not rice?
Jul. 23, 2009 6:32 am
Oh my yes! I always doo this with my risotto and it should never get a bad rap. The time factor is part of what makes risotto so incredibly wonderful.
Jul. 23, 2009 7:36 am
I think I know what I'll be cooking this weekend.... :) Thanks!
Jul. 23, 2009 8:55 am
You're on a slippery slope, foodelicious - next thing you'll be making arancini - little risotto balls filled with (blue) cheese. And fried. Bwaa-ha-ha (sinister laugh)!
Jul. 23, 2009 9:05 am
@Avon: mashed potatoes? Tell me more!
Jul. 23, 2009 9:08 am
@cheesemite: always raising the bar, aren't you? But deliciously so, my dear. I actually thought about the arancini thing, but dismissed it as too much work. I'm lazy.
Jul. 23, 2009 9:12 am
@K861084 and Christine: What are you going to make? I'm going to stir up some vegetable risotto next because this week's CSA arrives today and the vegetables from last week are taking over the fridge!
Jul. 23, 2009 9:52 am
Foodie, the mashed potato pancakes are so simple, I don't really follow any kind of recipe per se, but I take what I have leftover (potatoes), & whats in the fridge, add, grated onion or chopped green onion, finely minced peppers, herbs, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley (fresh is best). If the potatoes are loose....add a little flour, if not then they should hold together. Shape into a patty and dip in a beaten egg, and roll in some Panko. Pan fry in a bit of olive oil and butter combo, and there you go. Simple, simple. So versatile too, good way to clean out whatever is lurking. Really tasty w/ chicken or fish, or grilled anything.
Jul. 23, 2009 10:22 am
I will probably go with the Gourmet Mushroom Risotto you referenced! I've only made Andrew's Herb Risotto from here (which was excellent) and that one was next on my list!
Jul. 23, 2009 10:30 am
Avon! That sounds really, really, really GOOD! I swear I'm hungry right now just reading the description. I am SO going to make mashed potato cakes.
Jul. 23, 2009 10:30 am
Avon - love your new profile pic, by the way. ;-)
Jul. 23, 2009 10:35 am
Christine - Andrew's Herb Risotto looks interesting, but did you think 3.5 cups of broth was enough for 1.5 cups of rice? Did you add more?
Jul. 23, 2009 9:05 pm
I love risotto cakes, and was going to mention arrancini, but cheesemite beat me to it (I do mine with mozzarella - never thought of blue - yum!)
Aug. 4, 2009 8:21 pm
Wow, I am such a slacker. I use my ingredients one time only, then they are just leftovers. I guess I need to be more creative! LOL
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