Friday, March 27, 2009

Risotto Cakes

Risotto. I love risotto. I love making risotto in the old school manner in the style of Marcella Hazan and Lidia Bastianich, refer to my previous post. A foodie acquaintance of mine asked if I make risotto in a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker? I was utterly baffled. I was taught that in order to make risotto, it is necessary to slowly introduce hot liquid with constant stirring to get the starches from the short grain rice (higher in amylopectin) activated needed to achieve that create the desired creaminess that is characteristic of risotto. I want to know more about this, and try it for myself.....

Last night I made risotto with mushrooms and asparagus, the old school way. It was delicious; it would have been perfect if I used true Parmigiano-Reggiano. Risotto is meant to be eaten immediately while still creamy and hot. Due to the starch, once risotto cools, it turns into a lump. I had about two portions leftover. Today, I pulled out the leftover risotto which was almost brick like. Perfect for making this risotto into pan-fried goodness.

I portioned the leftovers into four portions and hand-shaped them into cakes. Then I set up a gluten free breading station: 1. gluten free flour; 2. beaten egg with seasonings; and 3. gluten free panko. It turned out to be a messy endeavor. Therefore, I knew the end result was going to be delicious. Heated a non-stick 12" fry pan over medium heat with a generous pour of olive oil. Allowed to heat up for a couple of minutes before adding the risotto cakes to the pan. Gently space the cakes in the pan. Allow to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes, and carefully turn over. Cook for an addition 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to blot excess oil. To plate this fancy and appealing, cut with a sharp chef knife and prop up like I did in the above picture...or use your own creativity. These cakes tastes just as you would imagine: risotto, pan-fried as a cake in a very light coating. Crispy and delicate on the outside. Warm, rich, and slightly gooey on the inside.