There are a few things I make almost exclusively because I want to do something with the leftovers (I’m looking at you Pork Belly Bánh mì sliders). And while risotto on its own is delicious, I love the gooey, crunchy cakes you can make with the leftovers even more. That’s why when Matt and I decided to make Shrimp and Lobster Risotto with Peas the other evening, I made quite a bit more than I knew we would need, with the devious (brilliant?) intention of making risotto cakes with the rest.
These things are insanely versatile. First of all, you can use pretty much any kind of leftover risotto you have. I can’t think of a version that wouldn’t work with a crunchy exterior, can you? Secondly, with a crisp salad and a glass of wine, they make an excellent lunch or light dinner on their own. Pair them with a roast beast of some sort and they become an incomparable side dish. I’m starting to feel like an informercial (But wait, there’s more!). Want an unbelievably delicious appetizer or party snack? Just make smaller patties. Oh, and I almost forgot. Risotto Cake + roasted tomato + poached egg = best brunch dish ever. That’s the official definition of a “super-food”, right? I’m pretty sure I’m right about this.
If you don’t happen to have leftover risotto in your fridge, don’t panic! Just make this Basic Risotto and chill it overnight. This works especially well if you’re making these for a party. That way you can get the risotto out of the way 2 days ahead, form the cakes the day before and fry them up before your guests arrive, keeping them warm in the oven. Easy peasy.
- Taleggio is a wonderfully stinky, Italian, soft-rind cheese. I love it but feel free to use any nice melting cheese you like (Fontina and Mozzarella are good substitutes). Of course you could leave the filling out entirely, but part of the charm of these is the warm, gooey surprise in the center.
- Panko will give you a much lighter, crispier texture than regular dried breadcrumbs.
- You can make the patties well in advance (they even freeze well) but don’t bread the outside and fry until you’re ready to use them or they’ll get soggy.
- 3½ cups leftover risotto of any kind, chilled
- 1½ cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided
- 2 -3 oz Taleggio cheese (you could substitute Fontina, Mozzarella, or other cheese of your choice)
- 3 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 large eggs
- Canola oil (for frying)
- Cube Taleggio (or whatever cheese you’re using) into roughly 1½ teaspoon size chunks, set aside
- In a large bowl with the leftover risotto, mix ½ cup panko, scallions, and 1 egg yolk into risotto. Using a ⅓ cup measure, scoop out mixture and form a patty. Using your thumb, create an indentation and place a cube of cheese inside. Cover cheese with another tablespoonful of risotto mixture. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Arrange on rimmed baking sheet. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.)
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Set another rimmed baking sheet in oven. Beat 2 eggs with 2 teaspoons of water in shallow bowl to blend. Place 1 cup panko in another shallow bowl. Dip risotto cakes into beaten egg, then into panko to coat. Pour enough canola oil into large skillet to coat bottom; heat oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sauté risotto cakes until crisp and brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet in oven. Cakes will stay warm and crisp in the oven for about 30 minutes.