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
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.
- 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.
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.