Dogs first: The girls are settling in nicely. Cleo’s taken over the new bed and dish we bought for Libby; Libby’s appropriated all the rawhides. Both are fine with this arrangement. Libby has already learned that dogs are required to sit before they get to go outside, and Cleo’s showing no jealousy whatsoever. And despite the fact that they each have their own beds, they really prefer to play fort with the couch cushions.
On to food. Let’s talk leftover risotto. I probably have just lost any readers who are purists with those two words; as I said in my original risotto post, risotto is a dish best eaten immediately, so to some cooks “leftover risotto” is an oxymoron. But as long as you’re making a new dish and not trying to recreate the original by reheating, leftover risotto can be a beautiful thing.
We’ve already stuffed risotto into peppers. Now we’re stripping it down to the basics—nothing but leftover risotto and a little bit of parm. Yes folks, we’re talking risotto cakes.
These little bites of love are golden and crisp on the outside and full of tender cheesy goodness on the inside, all in about 15 minutes.
This photo does not do this dish any justice, and I apologize for that. Since you’re making little patties from the leftover risotto, it’s best to skip the risotto-as-main-course with large pieces of meat and/or veggies. If your leftovers have any additions, they should be rice-sized so your patties don’t fall apart.
2 cups leftover cooked risotto
1 cup grated parmesan
(Yep, that’s it. Two ingredients.)
Put a large skillet over medium heat to warm up. (No oil needed; there’s some fat in the risotto and plenty in the cheese.) Meanwhile, scoop about 1/4 cup cold leftover risotto in your hand and squeeze lightly to form a ball. Flatten it a bit to form a thick cake. Dip the bottom of the cake in the grated parmesan to coat lightly and place in the skillet. Repeat with the remaining risotto. Leave enough space between cakes to be able to get a spatula in for flipping. Sprinkle parmesan on the tops of the cakes while they’re in the skillet.
Here’s the hard part: Don’t touch. Not for at least 5 minutes. Resist the temptation to fiddle, rearrange, or flip. Your patience will be rewarded by a sturdy, golden, crisp crust that will not only taste fabulous but will keep your cakes from disintegrating. (If you do get a messy pile of cheese and risotto instead of perfect cakes, the pile will still be delicious, but it will not be pretty.)
When it’s been at least 5 minutes, carefully lift part of one cake and peek. Is it deep gold and firm underneath? Does the cake move easily in the pan? Then go ahead and flip. If it sticks, or is pale, leave it alone for another few minutes and check again.
Flip the cakes and cook—without touching—for at least 4 minutes. They’re done when the second side is as amber, crisp and beautiful as the first side is. Serve immediately and with great delight. Makes about a dozen small cakes.
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