Monday, April 14, 2008

The return of the risotto

I’ve particularly enjoyed the latest offering from delicious and olive this month. I generally find a couple of things to inspire me as I eagerly flick through the colourful pages but they’ve both themed their magazines this time around and they’re both a winner. For May, olive has gone all British again which I’ve admired in previous years. And to counteract that delicious have embraced all that is Italian, and it just looks, well bellisimo. Having some leftover dense potato and leek risotto from the dinner party the other night burning a hole in my fridge, I pounce on the Cheese and ham rice cakes recipe.

Traditionally your remaining risotto is shaped into little Arancini di riso but my abhorrence towards deep frying makes this unlikely. And it’s not deep fried food I object to but me wrestling with rivers of hot oil in my bijou and incredibly flammable kitchen. But these little risotto beauties are baked in the oven, no nasty combustible oil.

Last time I wanted to recycle some remaining risotto I pan-fried them which worked okay but the act of turning the cakes in the oil proved tricky and bits made a bid for freedom, so this ‘leave alone’ in the oven option might be a little safer.

The recipe used either freshly made or leftover risotto, and it suggested adding ham, mozzarella and an egg to the cooled risotto. I decided to serve my egg on the side instead and not having any mozzarella or ham to hand I just decided to stick to the tasty Jersey Royals and leek already in the risotto. With dampened hands I shaped my risotto into balls and then flatten into discs, popped them onto a baking tray, cling wrapped and slid into the fridge for 20 minutes. As the original risotto had been more robust than your average one, I think I was able to forgo the egg successfully. However if the original dish has been more all’onda as it should have been, I guess the eggy glue would have been more relevant.

The oven was set to 200o C, the cakes removed from the fridge and dipped first in flour, then beaten egg and finally some fine dried breadcrumbs. The risotto cakes were returned to the baking tray and baked for 10-15 minutes until a lovely golden brown.

And the result was truly delicious, next time I might bury a morsel of torn mozzarella or even a spoonful of pesto before shaping into cakes. Who need deep-frying?

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