Friday, November 11, 2011

Baked Risotto and Leftover Risotto Cakes

This is by far one of my most favorite vegetarian recipes yet. I love risotto because it's so creamy and filling, and really versatile because you can add in so many different fillings. The usual way of making risotto is time-consuming and requires at least half an hour of standing by the stove and ladling hot cups of broth into the starchy rice and stirring the rice. This baked risotto recipe, from Cook's Illustrated, is so easy because you can finish it in the oven and avoid the long stirring time at the stove. It is such a great method for a working mom like me. Then, the next day, you can make risotto cakes with the leftovers!

Baked Risotto
Serves 6-8

3 TB butter
1 medium onion, minced
1/4 tsp salt
3 minced garlic cloves (~1 TB)
2 cups Arborio rice
4 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine (you could substitute white grape juice with a splash of vinegar)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Ground black pepper

1) Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium hear. Add onion and salt, stirring often until softened, ~5-7 minutes. Stir in garlic anf cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and cook until the grain edges are transparent, ~4 minutes.
3) Stir in 3.5 cups of chicken broth and wine. Cover the pot, increase the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Place the pot in the oven and bake the rice until tender and no water remains, ~20 minutes.
4) Just before removing the risotto from the oven, heat the remaining broth. Remove the risotto from the oven and stir in the hot broth and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Risotto Cakes (pictured above)
Makes 2 cakes

1 cup leftover risotto
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I only had Italian-seasoned ones, and they worked fine)
1 egg
1 pinch cayenne
2 TB shredded mozzarella cheese
Cooking oil

1) Prepare "breading stations" with breadcrumbs in one tray, and egg mixed with cayenne pepper in another tray.
2) This is how I prepared the cakes: put 1/2 cup risotto in 1 cup measuring cup. Put 1 TB of shredded cheese in the middle of the caked, making sure it stays in the middle. Add 1/2 cup of risotto on top and pack in tightly. I tapped the measuring cup on the counter to get the cake out intact. Repeat with the next cake.
3) Heat up 1/2 inch oil (I used canola) on medium-high. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Seriously, it is worth making risotto just to have these little crispy cakes. You could probably even bake these after spraying them with Pam, for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

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