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July 25, 2007 / Tony

Simplest risotto cakes

A fabulous way to use up your leftover risotto is to make a simple cake out of them.  I had some very simple risotto on hand (no vegetable or meat additions and just a little bit of Parmesan cheese).  Here’s a recipe for what I did:

Simplest Risotto Cakes 

2 cups leftover risotto (cold)

2 T bread crumbs

1 T finely chopped parsley
1 egg yolk

eggs and bread crumbs for breading

olive oil for pan-frying 

Combine the risotto, 2 T bread crumbs, parsley, and egg yolk.  Mix thoroughly with your hands.  Shape into four equal balls and flatten into cakes about 3/4 inch high.  Dip into the egg (1 egg plus the leftover egg white from the egg you took the egg yolk from is plenty) and then lightly bread with the bread crumbs.  Heat a saute pan with a thin layer of olive oil over medium heat.  Cook, flipping once, until both sides are a deep golden brown.  Serve immediately.   

The risotto cakes as written in this recipe will be fairly bland in flavor.  Sure, they’ll have a crisp exterior and a warm, creamy interior with that nice “bite” that only risotto gives.  But they won’t really jump off the plate.  I made them this way because I was going to pair it with some very flavorful food, about which more later.  To dress these cakes up, consider this recipe from Epicurious.  It jazzes up the risotto cakes with Fontina cheese and chives.  But also consider these ideas (caution: these ideas are untested): blue or gorgonzola cheese, minced red pepper, caramelized onions, diced proscuitto, or sauteed mushrooms.  The possibilities are endless.  Also consider using different types of bread crumbs.  I used some ordinary dry bread crumbs from the grocery store but Panko bread crumbs would be an excellent choice as would be fresh bread crumbs or even ground croutons.  Just remember to regulate the heat so the outsides don’t burn before the inside is heated through.

Now, I made my risotto cakes plain because I was pairing it with some very tart greens, a very simple salmon salad, and feta cheese.  This is what I did:


I took about 2 cups of leaf green lettuce and tossed it with 1 T of olive oil, 1 T of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  I used that as a base for my dish.  Then went on the risotto cakes and then my simple salmon salad.  That was only leftover Simple Salmon hastily put together.  I flaked the fish slightly and then mixed it with enough Dilled Sour Cream Sauce to make it into a salad.  That went on top of risotto cakes.  Then I garnished with feta cheese, cherry tomatoes from my garden, and parsley. 

It was pretty darn delicious.  The greens were wonderfully tart (almost too much so if they were all alone).  The salmon salad was meaty with just the right amount of acidity from the Dilled Sour Cream Sauce.  The feta added a nice creamy saltiness to the dish which contrasted wonderfully with the relatively bland creaminess of the risotto cakes.  The cherry tomatoes were a much-needed sweet accent.  And the risotto cakes grounded the whole dish-it was like a canvas upon which all of the other flavors could meld together.  It also added a great texture contrast to the rest of the ingredients.  Not bad for leftover night. 


Leave a Comment
  1. Erina / Nov 3 2010 11:16 pm

    Looks yummy! Here’s my latest take on Risotto Cakes: Crab Risotto Cakes with Spicy Remoulade

    They are elegant, delicious, easy, and the perfect use for the giant pot of risotto I always seem to have left after we’ve eaten it for a few days.

    Recipe here:


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