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How To Use Up Leftovers so that they don't taste like leftovers - I Give You Risotto Cakes

If you do a search of my blog, you will see that we appear to eat a lot of risotto. As soon as the weather turns colder, risotto gets bumped up to the regular weekly rotation. If you have some stock, a glass of white wine or a bottle of beer laying around, a handful of leftover meat or seafood, some vegetables or maybe some dried mushrooms, a little chunk of parmesan and a pat of butter lying around, you have dinner.

Risotto gets a bad reputation as a difficult, time consuming, special occasion dish, but it's not. Sure, it requires 20 minutes of standing at the stove, stirring the rice while it cooks but that is also 20 well deserved moments of peace with a glass of wine - it's like kitchen meditation and it is a treasured event for me. I don't share all of the recipes because it's often just a handful of cauliflower, three green beans and a couple of dried mushrooms, but here are my favourites:

Risotto Al Nero di Seppia
Beet Risotto
Corn Risotto
Brown Butter Risotto with Lobster
Mushroom Prosecco Risotto
Clam Risotto
Shrimp and Arugula Risotto
Risotto with Fresh Peas
Prosecco Risotto with Seared Scallops
Mushroom Risotto

Best of all, leftover risotto means, risotto cakes although I have been known to make risotto just so we can turn it into oozing cakes the next day. This is more of a method than a recipe and I have given you amounts for 4 hamburger sized patties but if you have more risotto, adjust the amounts accordingly. You can make them smaller and serve as an appetizer or full sized with a big salad as your entree.

Risotto Cakes

makes 4 cakes

approx 2 cups leftover risotto (1/2 cup per cake is a good measure)
about 100g a good, melting cheese like mozzarella, smoked gouda etc
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup panko
1/4 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper

Make a dredging station with three shallow bowls - one with flour and salt and pepper, the middle with the beaten egg and in the third combine the panko and parmesan.

I don't like making the cakes too huge or else they tend to fall apart when you are cooking them so I use about 1/2 cup in each. Form the cold risotto (Its easiest to work with straight from the fridge) into a ball and press and indent with your thumb. Insert a 1" square of cheese and then close the rice back over it until it's totally encased by the rice. Now make a little hamburger shaped patty out of it and dredge in the flour, then dip in the beaten egg and then, finally coat in the panko/parmesan/parsley.
Heat a fry pan over med to med high heat and add enough oil to completely coat the bottom of the pan.

Add your cakes to the hot pan and cook around 3 to 5 minutes before flipping to the other side. Keep an eye and make sure the bottom looks like it has formed a nice, nutty brown crust. Flip and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes on the other side and remove to a paper towel lined plate (you don't have to do that but I like to feel like I am making the effort to soak up the excess oil).

If you are making a large batch, you can preheat the oven to about 250 and keep them warm on a cookie sheet in there until you done making them all.

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