I love risotto cakes and often make double the quantity of risotto one night so I can make these the next. It’s real hands on, food from scratch, cooking but it’s not complicated and looks amazing. This is one of those dishes you can prepare in advance and serve up at a dinner party to ‘Oooohs’ and ‘Ahhhhs’ and lap up the admiration!
Ingredients (serves 6)
225g Carnaroli risotto rice
2 shallots, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
5 dried porcini mushrooms (soaked in warm water for 30 mins, drained through a sieve and finely chopped, keep the drained soaking water for stock)
1tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 – 1½ litres hot vegetable stock (plus the porcini soaking liquid)
50g grated vegetarian parmesan-style cheese
3tbsp plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
225g fresh breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for deep frying.
- Melt the butter in a large frying pan and cook the shallots for 2 minutes until soft but not browned
- Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their juices and then until those juices have cooked off
- Add the rice and garlic and stir until evenly coated in the butter and the garlic softens (1 minute)
- Stir in 1-2 ladlefuls of stock at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more, stirring very frequently until the rice is tender with just a little bite to it. This takes about 25 minutes.
- Add the cheese, the thyme, plenty of freshly ground black pepper and a little salt to taste
- Spread the risotto out in a baking tray and leave to cool completely
- Put the flour on one plate, the egg into a wide, shallow bowl and the breadcrumbs onto another plate
- Take a generous palm full of risotto mix and shape it into a pattie
- Roll it first in the flour, then into the egg and then coat generously with breadcrumbs
- Repeat until you have 6 patties
- Deep fry them in hot oil two at a time until crisp and golden and drain on kitchen paper or a tea towel
- Keep each batch warm in the oven once they are done
- Serve immediately with a selection of salads (a good beetroot salad goes very well, as does fennel and rocket with a tangy lemon dressing)
- You could add chopped chestnuts to the risotto, I’m a bit addicted to vacuum packed chestnuts at the moment which have a lovely depth to their flavour
- Roasted squash, chopped and added is delicious
- You can hide a piece of mozzarella, brie or goats’ cheese in the middle of the pattie to give a lovely cheesy surprise!