Reheated leftover risotto is dense and mushy and not very good. But leftover risotto shaped into little cakes, coated in crumbs, and fried to a crunchy golden brown is a special treat. You can experiement with different types of leftover risotto for these cakes, but it works best if there aren't a lot of chunky ingredients in the risotto (such as shrimp or sausage). Try it with leftover Risotto alla Milanese or Spinach & Herb Risotto.
Tip:The recipe is easily doubled if you have more leftovers, just fry the cakes in batches of four, and keep the finished cakes warm in a 200°F oven while frying the second batch.
Put the breadcrumbs or panko in a wide, shallow bowl or plate. Scoop up about 1/3 cup of risotto at a time and shape into four patties, each about 3/4 inch thick and 3 inches wide. Coat the cakes in the breadcrumbs, pressing to help the crumbs adhere -- it's all right if the cake isn't completely covered in crumbs.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Fry the cakes until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side (if necessary, adjust the heat to keep the oil at the right temperature). Transfer with a slotted spatula to paper towels to drain for a few minutes before serving.
Serve with lightly dressed salad greens or steamed green beans.
Photo: Scott Phillips