Category: risotto

The second round: chive risotto cakes.

Yeah so I made these quite a while ago, over a year, and it was kind of a disaster. Not that they weren’t tasty; they were. But they fell apart, weren’t crispy enough and were basically flat, sad little soft disks of cheese, rice & panko. They’re an Ina Garten recipe and I’ve never, ever, EVER had any issues with her recipes. However this one was my fault. I fucked it up. Embarrassingly so. And that, my friends, is why I’m doing a second round. I must conquer the chive risotto cake.

the first time, I used the wrong yogurt, which definitely contributed to the mess. Greek yogurt in these is a MUST- it’s so thick it really keeps everything together. DO NOT USE YOGURT THAT ISN’T GREEK BUT CLAIMS TO BE ” EXTRA THICK.” It’s not. Use Greek. Not Icelandic, not American, not French, not Mexican, not Yoplait… GREEK. Also, I did not leave them to chill in the fridge long enough. On top of the “wrong-yogurt” debacle, I also couldn’t control my impatient self and of course, didn’t wait “at least two hours.” I know, I’m groaning too. I’m a fool. But I’m going to redeem myself with this post today. Because these came out so perfect, Ina herself would gasp in delight.

See? Gasp-worthy.

CHIVE RISOTTO CAKES

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 ½ cups grated Italian fontina cheese (5 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
  • Good olive oil

Directions:

  1. Bring a large (4-quart) pot of water to a boil over medium-low heat and add ½ tablespoon salt and the Arborio rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. The grains of rice will be quite soft. Drain the rice in a sieve and run under cold water until cool. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, chives, fontina, 1 ¼ teaspoons of salt, and the pepper in a medium bowl. Add the cooled rice and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, until firm.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  4. Spread the panko in a shallow dish. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Form balls of the rice mixture using a standard (2 ¼-inch) ice-cream scoop or a large spoon. Pat the balls into patties 3 inches in diameter and ¾-inch thick. Place 4 to 6 patties in the panko, turning once to coat. Place the patties in the hot oil and cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side until the risotto cakes are crisp and nicely browned.
  5. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Continue cooking in batches, adding oil as necessary, until all the cakes are fried. Arrange on a serving platter and serve hot.

As far as the fontina, you can use any pale-colored cheese you like. I used white cheddar both times because I love it. But if you love fontina, then use it. I used chives from my own garden this time, and I can’t tell you that made much of a difference in flavor, although I added more because last time I skimped, so it did have a better chive flavor. And it was certainly convenient to just run outside my back door with a pair of scissors and snip off a bunch, unlike last time when I had to go to the store to buy some. I won’t tell you that the olive oil isn’t important, it is, if you use a shitty one the flavor isn’t going to be as nice. Sometimes cheap olive oil has a weird flavor to it. Stick with a good brand name for frying these. Also, I like to use the Italian flavored panko, but that’s up to you.

Mine stayed in the fridge for about 5 ½ hours this time before I fried them. The difference was amazing. They molded perfectly, stuck together, didn’t fall apart even in the frying pan. They came out exactly right; crispy, crunchy outside and a creamy inside. Yum. That parsley garnish is also from my garden. My parsley is crazy-go-nuts, seriously. It’s like a shrub.

So let’s go over the “DON’TS” of this recipe one more time:

  1. DON’T use any yogurt other than plain Greek yogurt.
  2. DON’T be impatient: let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  3. DON’T use breadcrumbs other than panko.
  4. DON’T use regular rice!!!!! THIS IS A BIG NO-NO. Arborio only!

Like I said last time, these are a great light dinner item and an even better lunch item. Served with a fresh salad? Perfect. Despite the cheese and the yogurt and the eggs, they’re very light tasting. Not overly greasy or heavy, but full of flavor.

“Waiter, there’s fungi in my risotto!”

Before I get started talking about fungus, I wanna say how much I appreciate all my readers and fans. There’s no smooth transition between talking about fungi and my fans, or vice versa, so I won’t even try. I just wanted to tell you all that I really do appreciate you, every single one of you, and I love all the awesome comments and e-mails I get from you. You guys are the best, and because you all give me such rad feedback and keep me going, it makes me doing this site so much more fun. So thank you, seriously. I am not exaggerating when I say you’re all that and a frosted cupcake, for sure.  Speaking of cupcakes, if I could send each and every one of you a cupcake with frosting piled 4 inches high and a big hug, I would. Don’t worry- I’m not losing my edge. I guess since Valentine’s Day is coming I got a little sappy there… but it’s all the truth. Allright, enough, now let’s talk about food.

I’ve said many times before, I LOVE RISOTTO. It’s one of my favorite dishes to make at home. I have about five recipes for it on this website alone. In restaurants, I find myself being very picky and somewhat snobbish about it. I’ve only encountered one risotto that was satisfactory to my taste and expectations on L.I.- at Wall’s Wharf in Bayville, the mushroom risotto. Other than that, it’s always been either too dry, too rubbery, too much like regular rice, or too mushy. So I usually just stick to making it myself and choosing other dishes when dining out.

Okay so, me and mushrooms have a troubled history. I don’t love them. I tolerate them in certain dishes, but I’m not really what you would call a mushroom lover. However, while doing my grocery shopping the other day I thought, “Why don’t I buy these beauteous baby bella mushrooms and do something with them?” I don’t know if I had accidentally ingested acid earlier in the day, or if indeed I’m beginning to *gasp* actually like mushrooms. I’ll go with ‘a’  just to save my reputation.

A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name “mushroom” is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, hence the word mushroom is most often applied to those fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) that have a stem (stipe), a cap (pileus), and gills (lamellae, sing. lamella) on the underside of the cap, just as do store-bought white mushrooms.

The word “mushroom” can also be used for a wide variety of gilled fungi, with or without stems, and the term is used even more generally, to describe both the fleshy fruiting bodies of some Ascomycota and the woody or leathery fruiting bodies of some Basidiomycota, depending upon the context of the word.

Forms deviating from the standard morphology usually have more specific names, such as “puffball“, “stinkhorn“, and “morel“, and gilled mushrooms themselves are often called “agarics” in reference to their similarity to Agaricus or their placement in the order Agaricales. By extension, the term “mushroom” can also designate the entire fungus when in culture or the thallus (called a mycelium) of species forming the fruiting bodies called mushrooms, or the species itself.

I’ve always found it odd that mushrooms are even a part of our human diet- considering they’re a fungus. It’s like eating bleu cheese, sorta, because you’re essentially eating mold (bleu cheese is one of my favorite cheeses, by the way). But nevertheless, there they are, in all their glory, with their little caps and stems looking like something out of Alice In Wonderland. And we buy ‘em and stuff them and saute them and put them on pizza and in risotto and some people even use them as the “burger” in a faux-hamburger! Oh, mushrooms, you so crazy. Isn’t it funny that a society that has so many germophobic tendencies, and obsessions with cleanliness and getting rid of dirt and mold and fungus, actually enjoy eating those very things?

So here’s a dee-rish-us recipe from Tyler Florence. I will tell you here that I only used baby bella mushrooms, an 8 oz package, and it was plenty as far as I’m concerned. If you’re a big mushroom fan, do as you like. I also didn’t use truffle oil, just regular olive oil. I didn’t garnish with parsley either. Rebel, rebel.

MUSHROOM RISOTTO

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 pound fresh portobello and crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil
  • 1-ounce dried porcini mushrooms, wiped of grit
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Fresh Italian parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ½ onion and 1 clove garlic, cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms, herbs and butter. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle in truffle oil then add the dried porcini mushrooms which were reconstituted in1 cup of warm chicken broth. Season again with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Saute 1 minute then remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Coat a saucepan with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Saute the remaining ½ onion and garlic clove. Add the rice and stir quickly until it is well-coated and opaque, 1 minute. This step cooks the starchy coating and prevents the grains from sticking. Stir in wine and cook until it is nearly all evaporated.
  4. Now, with a ladle, add 1 cup of the warm broth and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to cook and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy, not mushy. Transfer the mushrooms to the rice mixture. Stir in Parmesan cheese, cook briefly until melted. Top with a drizzle of truffle oil and chopped parsley before serving.

Ch-ch-ch-chive risotto cakes.

EDIT: BEFORE YOU READ THIS POST… know that this post is my first, and my only failed attempt at making these. If you want to see them done correctly, please go to this updated version. If you want to read about my failure, keep reading!

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Okay, this is the first time I’m writing up an entry for an awesome recipe that I failed to execute correctly. Through no fault of it’s own, the chive risotto cakes recipe couldn’t live up to it’s full potential because I am an impatient bitch. Patience is a virtue I do not have. Besides, when you’re hungry, 2+ hours seems like forever. So I cut it a bit short, and they weren’t as firm as they should’ve been, and so they didn’t hold the shape while frying. Woops. You see, dear readers, I am not perfect. I may look it, with my cute hair cut/color, my perfect eyebrows, and my beautiful little swirls of frosting a top my gorgeous little cupcakes. But, alas, I am not perfect. Vain and self-important, yes. Perfect, no.

Sometimes, shit just works out for you. Despite your rebelliousness or substitution of ingredients or your rushed and harried manner… despite all that, your food just glows and sparkles and looks like something out of Martha Stewart Living. Example: my “white” cupcakes that I didn’t use cake flour for, nor did I sift the all-purpose flour I did in fact use.  So yeah, sometimes it works out like that. Other times, even if you do everything right, the Shit Gods just smile on you. Or poop on you. Whatever. This was just one of those times. I do blame myself for not allowing them to set properly. But really, Ina, 2+ hours!? Really!? I have no patience for such things! I’m the person who cuts her hair even shorter when it grows out to the awkward stage, because I have no patience to see it through. You think I can wait 2+ hours… or overnight… for chive risotto cakes of mouthwateringlyness!?

That said, they were delicious. Another A+++ recipe from my homegirl Ina Garten. I used white cheddar instead of fontina because that’s just what I had around, and they were so amazing. If they had only been crunchier. *sigh* I will make them again and give them the proper setting time in the fridge, and they will hold their shape better, and the pictures will come out better. But for now here are my sad little chive risotto cakes that couldn’t hold their shapes.

They don’t look too bad here… except for that one on the left that obviously fell apart.
Further evidence of my impatience.

Ina made them for a lunch with some arugula salad on the side, I had mine for dinner with big fat slices of Italian bread. To each his own I say. You can never have too many carbs!

CHIVE RISOTTO CAKES

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 ½ cups grated Italian fontina cheese (5 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
  • Good olive oil

Directions:

  1. Bring a large (4-quart) pot of water to a boil over medium-low heat and add ½ tablespoon salt and the Arborio rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. The grains of rice will be quite soft. Drain the rice in a sieve and run under cold water until cool. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, chives, fontina, 1 ¼ teaspoons of salt, and the pepper in a medium bowl. Add the cooled rice and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, until firm.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  4. Spread the panko in a shallow dish. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Form balls of the rice mixture using a standard (2 ¼-inch) ice-cream scoop or a large spoon. Pat the balls into patties 3 inches in diameter and ¾-inch thick. Place 4 to 6 patties in the panko, turning once to coat. Place the patties in the hot oil and cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side until the risotto cakes are crisp and nicely browned.
  5. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Continue cooking in batches, adding oil as necessary, until all the cakes are fried. Arrange on a serving platter and serve hot.

I really do recommend them… they were fabu-licious. But just be sure to give them the right amount of time to set. This is an excellent example of why I love doing this blog: you can learn from my mistake! Anyway, I wouldn’t say they were a FAIL… they tasted delicious and didn’t look that bad either. But they definitely weren’t Food Network worthy. All in all, great recipe. Poor execution on my part. Boo.

I would have used a bit more chive in them though, next time. Next time… I will conquer you, risotto cakes. I will CONQUER you.

Tomayto, tomahto, let’s call the whole thing risotto!

Before I start, I just want to let everyone know that Cupcake Rehab has a new Facebook page! So go become a fan if you have Facebook. And if you don’t have a Facebook, don’t worry! There are other ways to keep up with Cupcake Rehab, just click here and see.

Okay now on to the recipe. Risotto is one of my all-time favorite recipes. Its filling, easy and always has a bit of a “wow” factor. I think thats because most people never make it at home, or if they do its one of those box mixes from Whole Foods. Its almost always a restaurant dish to people. It intimidates them like crazy. Well not me. I have three other risotto recipes in my archives and love every single one. I think risotto is acutally easier than a lot of other dishes, and so versatile. You can add basically any vegetable, any meat, any seafood. Its a wonder-dish!

But here’s a new one for me: Tomato risotto with parmesan & fresh basil. Delicious sounding, even better tasting. Thanks to Last Night’s Dinner for the recipe. I changed it a bit to suit me, but the recipe is her’s. Mangia!

TOMATO RISOTTO WITH PARMESAN & FRESH BASIL

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO (I just really wanted to write that- I hope you all know that means extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup GOOD QUALITY pasta sauce
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth
  • about 6 large basil leaves, chopped (less if you like less basil, more if you’re a basil fanatic)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Melt butter into olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, heat the broth in a saucepan of its own until its hot, but not bubbling. Add onion and a pinch of salt to butter and olive oil and cook a few minutes until softened. Add the rice and stir well to coat with the butter/olive oil mixture. Allow to cook a few minutes more until the rice begins to become translucent. Add wine and continue to stir, allowing most of the liquid to absorb. Stir in pasta sauce and half of the chicken broth and again allow to cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  2. Continue adding the remaining broth a cup or so at a time, stirring fairly continuously, and allow the liquid to cook into the risotto. What you want is for the risotto to be creamy and the texture of the grains of rice to be firm but not crunchy or hard. Taste frequently as the rice cooks so you can test the texture of the rice, and also add more salt as needed. You may not need all the broth, but if you happen to need more liquid you can add a cup or two of water.
  3. Once the risotto is creamy and al dente, yet not mushy, turn off the heat and gently stir in the basil. Add a bit of freshly grated Parmagiano Reggiano and stir that in immediately before serving.

I like to serve my risotto in a bowl with a slice of chunky artisan bread, like an olive oil ciabatta. Like the original recipe, a fantastic addition to this would be big fat hunks of fresh mozzarella, stirred in while its still hot. And people- there is nothing, NOTHING, like using fresh basil. I clipped some off of my basil plant for this, if you don’t have a basil plant of your own then go buy some fresh basil. Basil, basil, basil!

I made this for dinner and then made some spiced sugar bomboloni for dessert. Awesomely awesome.

Also, I never use metal spoons to stir anything I make that has tomatoes or tomato sauce. My mother told me years ago that the metal can react with the acid in tomatoes and make a not so nice result. Always use wooden or silicone. And NEVER leave a metal serving spoon sitting in a hot pot of sauce you want to continue eating from. Just a little tip from me to you.

Spring risotto with peas (& zucchini).

Risotto is one of my favorite things to make. Its easy, fairly quick, and its a one-pot creation. A lot of people are intimidated by it.. but its nothing to fear. Its easier than you think. Its true; you have to keep an eye on it, and stir it frequently, but if you stir it too much it gets gluey anyway so its better to have a slightly more laissez-faire attitude with it. Risotto is another impressive dish that is deceptively simple. I make parmesan risotto all the time, and in the winter I make risotto col vino too. But this is a nice alternative. Risotto with peas and zucchini, to remind us that spring is indeed around the corner. I omitted the zucchini, I didn’t have any anyway. But I’m listing the recipe in its entirety.

For this recipe you can substitute a half cup more of broth instead of the white wine if you wish. Use frozen peas for this- canned peas are too soggy. You want a fresh taste, not a soggy canned taste. Traditionally risotto is a side dish, but I find it works well as a light meal. Adding some cooked shrimp when its done is also a great meal idea.

SPRING RISOTTO WITH PEAS AND ZUCCHINI

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 to 2 large zucchini (1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat broth in a small saucepan over low heat; keep warm. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add zucchini; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until zucchini is golden, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer zucchini to a plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion; cook until soft, 5 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Raise heat to medium. Add rice; cook, stirring, until translucent around edges, about 3 minutes. Add wine; cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  3. Cook, adding 1 cup hot broth at a time (stir until almost all liquid is absorbed before adding more), until rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes total.
  4. Add zucchini and peas; cook until peas are bright green, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining tablespoon butter and Parmesan. Serve, topped with more cheese.

I like to serve it in bowls with big hunks of crusty bread. Enjoy!

Parmesan risotto, aka “white risotto.”

I’m back, and I have another recipe!

I make this a lot. mainly because risotto is SO EASY to make, its almost brainless. And its filling, so it makes a really great main dish as well as side dish. It takes some time to cook, and needs to be watched because it can scorch and if its not stirred enough it stays watery. But its simpler than it seems. There are so many possibilities: adding peas, different kinds of cheeses, different kinds of wine, etc. This recipe as a main dish serves 6, or 3 hungry people, or possibly 8 if its a side dish. Its a completely different experience from the Risotto col vino, which uses red wine and no cheese. Its a lighter risotto, more of a spring-y one.

PARMESAN RISOTTO

(Serves 6)

Getcha grimy hands on some:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, very very finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 ½ cups reduced-sodium canned chicken broth*
  • ¾ cup GOOD quality shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • fresh thyme leaves, for garnish (optional, I prefer to use parsely flakes and basil, I buy it together in the spice department, its called ‘Italian Seasoning’ haha, how original)

Then you’re gonna:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic. Sauté onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute. Season with salt. Gently heat broth; keep warm.
  2. Add about 1 cup of warm broth. Cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes total. The rice should be tender (but not mushy) and suspended in liquid with the consistency of heavy cream.
  3. Remove pan from heat. Stir in Parmesan and butter; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately (risotto will continue to thicken as it sits). Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.

Enjoy!

*I’ve found that two cans of 14.5 ounce chicken broth equals roughly 4 cups of it. Thats all I use, I don’t bother with the other half cup, and it works out just fine for me.

Risotto col vino. Mangia!

Don’t you just love risotto? I do. Don’t you just love wine? I do. This is the best of both worlds, and my favorite risotto recipe.

I find that its a wonderful winter night meal. White risotto to me is lighter, and more summery, even though its got more cheese usually. It just seems more summery. This is a hearty red wine risotto perfect for dinner, a side dish to dinner or a snack if you’re like me and make spaghetti & meatballs as a midnight snack.

RISOTTO COL VINO:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • 2 cups red wine, reduced to one cup (good quality, that you would drink, not cheapo stuff that tastes like paint thinner)
  • 3 cups well-flavored chicken or vegetable stock
  • ½ cup shaved parmesan
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Melt oil and butter, and saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the rice, and saute till well coated. Then add the wine and stir until it is absorbed. Add simmering stock, ½ cup at a time until whole amount is absorbed. Add parmesan and a little more butter and stir through.

This is usually used as a side dish; its great with grilled meats, and some people add wild mushrooms or cremini as well. I hate mushrooms, and I use this as a main dish because I find it filling. I’ve even made this and added some ground beef cooked in marinara to it to make it a more substantial dish. The alcohol burns off, obviously, but if you’re truly anti-alcohol there are many risotto variations out there, just google it.

And please, for the love of Charleton Heston, don’t use regular rice. If you do, not only will it taste like garbage and not be risotto… 5 Italians drop dead immediately from the insult. Its a fact. Arborio is what should be used. If you never heard of it before, then you haven’t been making risotto- you’ve been making a mess with rice.

Mangia!