These really are that good - well, nearly so anyway since I'm not certain that's a real thing. Whether it is or not, I DO know that the three of us that were here all loved them.
I had them for the first time at a small restaurant up in Northampton, MA a couple of months ago and they were incredible. They have a different type every day and I was actually disappointed the second time I had them. Ditto when I ordered them at Olive Garden (that one didn't surprise me as much, though I actually think their food is quite good for a chain).
That's when I decided I had to make them myself. After all, when something is this good and you can control what goes into it yourself so that you KNOW you're going to like it, it's a win-win situation!
If you've never had a risotto cake, it's basically leftover risotto formed into balls with some kind of coating and then either pan or deep fried. You can use any type of risotto - the one I used is here, but you really could use whatever type you like. I actually made my risotto the day before and made it with the specific purpose of making risotto cakes.
Since you can make them with different coatings, I chose to use a flour/egg wash/panko coating. I also chose to deep fry them. You can use regular bread crumbs and pan fry them as well - and I'm certain they would also turn out great.
There is something about the creaminess of the risotto combined with the crunchiness of the panko on the outside that turned it from great to outstanding (the swiss cheese I put inside didn't hurt either).
We topped ours with some homemade roasted garlic aioli that I had whipped up earlier in the day and it was the perfect topping.
If you'd like to try it yourself, here's how:
- 3 cups leftover risotto, chilled
- 1 cup flour, for dredging
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 pound cheese cut into 1/4 inch pieces (type is your choice - I used Swiss but whatever you like will work)
- Vegetable, corn or peanut oil, for frying
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
DirectionsRemember when you were a kid and your mom told you not to play with your food? Well, this time it's okay - that's pretty much what you have to do for the first part of this.
- Set up a dredging station with the flour in one dish, beaten eggs in another and panko breadcrumbs in a third
- Take a spoonful of the risotto and place it in the palm of your hand (it obviously helps if your hands are clean first or you wear gloves - or both)
Place a spoonful of risotto in your hand
- Flatten the risotto. It should be about three inches across
- Take a slice of the cheese and place in the middle of the flattened risotto
Place a slice of cheese on the risotto
- Take another spoonful of the risotto and place it on top of the cheese
- Using both hands, make a patty out of the risotto, being certain to seal the cheese inside the risotto
Make a patty out of the risotto - make sure the cheese is sealed inside
- Dip the patty in the flour, then into the eggs, and finally coat them in panko and set aside
- Repeat steps 2 through 7 until you're out of risotto
- In a heavy pan (or a deep fryer) heat the oil until it's between 325 and 350 degrees. It's important that it not get hotter than this. If it does, the outside of the cake will get done before the inside gets hot enough to melt the cheese
- Very carefully place the patties two to three at a time in the hot oil (how many you can cook at once is determined by the size of your pan - remember, the temperature will drop when you put them in the oil)
- Fry for two to three minutes and flip them over while still in the oil, until nicely browned, then remove from the oil
They should look like this when they're done
- Place on a wire rack which will help them stay crispy
- Place the wire rack with the patties in a 250 degree oven to stay warm
- Repeat steps 10 to 13 until all the patties have been cooked while maintaining the 325 to 350 degree oil temperature
On a wire rack with a paper towel to absorb extra oil
- Arrange on a serving platter and serve hot
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
We served this with garlic aioli. They are great by themselves but are really complemented by the aioli.