Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fontina Risotto Cakes with Fresh Chives

We've been in Boston for a week catching up with old friends. Last night, I cooked a 3-course dinner for the four of us and the star of the show were these risotto cakes. Sunday night, my friend and I watched Iron Chef 'Battle Rice' and the challenging chef made these for one of his dishes. My friend and I agreed that these were a must do.

Risotto is really a labor of love so be prepared to stand and stir. Also, I always keep a little extra stock on hand because it usually needs a touch more. I added garlic to the onions while they sauteed which I would highly suggest. I served the cakes on the bottom of the plate, piled haricot verts on top and then leaned to pesto lamb chops crosswise on top. The cakes were every one's favorite but the lamb was in a close second...

Fontina Risotto Cakes with Fresh Chives
  • 3 cups (about) low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided
  • 1/2 cup (packed) coarsely grated Fontina cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 large eggs
  • Canola oil (for frying)
  • Additional grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh chives

Bring 3 cups broth to simmer in small saucepan. Reduce heat to very low; cover and keep warm. Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine; stir until absorbed, about 30 seconds. Add broth, 1/3 cup at a time, and simmer until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more, and stirring often, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in 6 tablespoons Parmesan and butter. Season generously with salt and pepper. Spread risotto in 13x9x2-inch pan and cool completely.

Mix 1/2 cup panko, Fontina cheese, parsley, chopped chives, and 1 egg yolk into risotto. Shape into 1 1/4-inch balls; flatten to 2-inch rounds. Arrange on rimmed baking sheet. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 250°F. Set another rimmed baking sheet in oven. Beat 2 eggs in shallow bowl to blend. Place 1 cup panko in another shallow bowl. Dip risotto cakes into beaten egg, then into panko to coat. Pour enough canola oil into large skillet to coat bottom; heat oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sauté risotto cakes until crisp and brown, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet in oven.

Serve risotto cakes sprinkled with cheese and garnished with chives.


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