Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Risotto Cakes

Each month I test a couple Ina Garten recipes along with other members of the Barefoot Blogger community. One of our bonus recipes for November is Ina's Chive Risotto Cakes. I am on a risotto kick these days. There just isn't anything better than homemade risotto full of creamy flavor. I've never made risotto cakes before, but this is an EXCELLENT idea for repurposing left over risotto. In this recipe that Ina created, she shows us how to make risotto cakes from scratch. All of this can be assembled as early as the day before and then sautéed just before dinner. The yogurt, chives, and Italian Fontina give these a delicious creamy interior, and the panko gives them a wonderful crunchy crust.

First start boiling a large pot of water. I used my 3.5 quart pot and generously salted the water.

Once water boils, add 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice. Boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, I assemble our ingredients.

I have an extra ingredient in this picture? Can you find what doesn't belong? You need greek yogurt, risotto rice, chives, fontina, eggs and panko.

And then you see that tub of athenos gorgonzola cheese hanging out on the left. He jumped right in the picture at the last second. What a sneak. I wasn't sure I had 1.5 cups of fontina so I thought I would have to substitute some gorgonzola but in the end I didn't need him. After tasting the finished product, I think gorgonzola or other strongly flavored cheese would be fantastic in these risotto cakes.

Start with 1/2 cup greek yogurt.

Add 2 extra large eggs. I used egg-beaters.

Add 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives. I have these wonderfully frozen chives that I found in the freezer section of Target. L-o-v-e them!

Now I begin grating my cheese. Did you know that it is really helpful if you first spray your grater with pam or rub with olive oil? It keeps the cheese from sticking on the outside.

Add 1 1/2 cups grated Italian Fontina cheese (5 ounces). Salt and Pepper.

Then simply mix well in your bowl.

After 20 minutes, the rice is nice and plump.

The grains of rice will be quite soft. Drain the rice in a sieve and run under cold water until cool. Drain well.

Once cooled. Add rice to egg and cheese mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight like I did, until firm.
Then, add olive oil or grapeseed oil (or whatever oil you are fond of) to a skillet and heat over medium-low heat. I had my heat at medium/medium-high.

I use panko often in my kitchen because I like the crunch, however these are plain and without any flavor. Next time I would suggest adding some seasoning to these japanese bread crumbs.

Using a 1/3 cup I scoop my chilled and cheesy risotto and form a patty with my hands.

Then roll in panko to coat all over.

These are holding together nicely.
Add to hot skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side.

My heat was up too high and these browned in 2 minutes. Ina suggest pre-heating your oven to 200 and placing cooked cakes on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and then keeping them warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Continue cooking in batches, adding oil as necessary, until all the cakes are fried. Serve hot, maybe with some fish or chicken entree and a small green salad.

The result is a wonderful risotto cake. The texture of this is amazing - creamy inside and crunchy outside. I did think it lacked flavor and I see several areas where we could fix this. We boiled our risotto rice in plain water, no added flavors there. If we were using leftover risotto then the risotto would have had a ton of flavor from cooking broths and shallots and other ingredients to start with. When making these cakes from scratch I would suggest adding some dried herbs and other seasonings to the egg and cheese mixture. Maybe a tablespoon of italian seasoning. I would also flavor the panko with the same seasonings. And/or I would serve this with a dollop of aioli. I don't see myself making risotto cakes from scratch going forward - I like the original homemade risotto too much. As is, they were good and gave me great ideas for using up leftover risotto in the future.
I really like Ina Garten's cooking and love to watch her show Barefoot Contessa. Here are some other Barefoot recipes of hers that I have tried.

11/27/08 Update

I made these again last night but added a four inch wheel of jalapeno cheese to the rice mixture. Jim chopped the cheese block into small pieces and then mixed it into my risotto mixture. I made the patties just as before, but rolled in Italian seasoned breadcrumbs instead of panko crumbs. Then when I added them to the hot skillet to fry the cheese got really melty and the patty fell apart. It still tasted good, but was more a plate of glop.
Then I scooped up another ball of risotto and added about a teaspoon of the italian breadcrumbs to the patty, then rolled it in Italian breadcrumbs. This patty held together better, although the extra cheese we added makes the patties soft and oozy, making it harder to use a spatula to get the patty to flip.
So the spicy cheese gave it much better flavor, but didn't help me when I fried the patties. I'm still working on this one.


  1. Yum! I love risotto, although my husband told me recently that he is not a big fan...what?!?! I've only made it about 100 times! I guess it was sweet that he didn't mention it and just ate. :) These, though, maybe he wouldn't notice?!?

    Ina...love her, too! You've gotta try her coconut cupcakes. They are incredible!

  2. These look delcious. I am sorry I skipped them but am all ready to post the soup.

  3. Those look really good, I love risotto. I'll have to try it sometime.


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