Tag Archives: risotto

Gruyere Risotto Cakes

The only way risotto leftovers can be made better? Form them into patties, roll in panko bread crumbs and fry lightly in extra-virgin olive oil.

Afraid of making risotto? Try making risotto cakes! Seriously – this is like an easy introduction to the beauty of thick, creamy risotto jazzed up with any flavors you desire. And the flaky panko breadcrumbs provide such a perfect crunch.

I must say that Grant declared these to be in his “top 3” meals I’ve made. Now if only I could remember the first two…

This recipe from Ina Garten is easy to tweak. For instance, I didn’t have Greek yogurt, so I used some low-fat sour cream that I already had. I didn’t have chives, so I used green onions. Gruyere was miraculously on sale, so I used that instead of fontina. In my opinion, Gruyere is a far superior cheese (and my favorite cooking cheese) to fontina, so it was an obvious switch.

Next time, I may try to freeze the cakes before frying – some of them still tried to fall apart on me. Don’t worry – it won’t affect the taste!

Lightly browned in the pan and then crisped up in the oven while I made the salad, these would be a wonderful appetizer if made smaller. But they are just as delicious and decadent as your entree, served on a bed of peppery arugula in a light lemon vinaigrette (with Parmesan shavings over the top, of course).

Gruyere Risotto Cakes


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons minced green onions
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Good olive oil
  • Baby arugula
  • Juice from 1 lemon

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-low heat and add 1/2 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.

Meanwhile, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, green onions, cheeses, 1 1/4 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.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

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 an ice-cream scoop or a large spoon. Pat the balls into patties 3 inches in diameter and 3/4-inch thick. Place 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. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes – increase the heat to 350 if the cakes fell apart in the frying process and need to be crisped.

Continue cooking in batches, adding oil as necessary, until all the cakes are fried.

Meanwhile, prepare your salad.

Whisk juice of 1 lemon with 1/3-1/2 c. EVOO and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over arugula and finish with Parmesan shavings.

To serve, place hot cakes on top of arugula salad and sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper. When you bite in, the rice will be creamy and flavored with all the nutty Gruyere and light onions. The arugula will wilt under the heat and the Parmesan will soften. Just fabulous!

To reheat, place cakes on baking sheet and heat in 350-degree oven until they start to sizzle.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo


Thai Basil Shrimp Risotto

More risotto! This recipe calls itself Thai, but if you don’t use Thai basil and instead use the sweet basil about to go to seed in your backyard, it’s just a nice shrimp risotto.

I roasted my shrimp because I still believe that gives them the best flavor, and then added them at the end to combine with the rice, fresh basil and lime juice. Now, the lime was an interesting addition. Gave it a different sort of acidity that I quite liked. The final product wasn’t as robust in flavor compared to my heavier, bacon-flavored risotto, but it was still nice and creamy, with the fresh bite of shrimp.

A fun way to use the last of the summer basil…

Thai Basil Shrimp Risotto


  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • EVOO
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 3/4 c. arborio rice
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • 4-5 c. chicken stock, simmering
  • 12 basil leaves, sliced into strips
  • Juice of 1 lime

Heat oven to 400 and toss shrimp with few tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, then place on baking sheet. Bake until cooked, 7-10 min. Set aside.

Put 1 T oil and butter in hot risotto pan and when hot, add garlic and onions, sauteeing 1 to 2 min. Add rice and stir 2 min. Add wine, deglaze pan and reduce heat to simmer until moisture is absorbed. Ladle in stock, 1/2 c. at a time, stirring almost constantly, until moisture is absorbed and rice just loses its grainy bite, roughly 20 min. Add shrimp, basil, 2 T butter and lime juice. Stir to combine.

Test for seasonings and serve.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Pork Belly and Peach Risotto

Have you missed my regular risotto recipes? Don’t worry, darlings, they’re back! I had a special night all to myself recently. The house was quiet and tidied, it was a beautiful night and I had plenty of food and wine. After making a large batch of pesto from the 1 lb. of basil in my CSA box, I made this deliciously decadent risotto that would surprise you.

I’m really into the whole fruit-in-risotto thing. First the strawberry-lobster risotto, and now this: peaches and pork belly. It WORKS, I tell you. Saltiness from the pork, sweetness from the fruit, creaminess from the risotto. One could just eat and eat…

I’d like to point out that this is the first dish I made in my new Le Creuset kiwi-colored pan:

See my little LC salt and pepper shakers in the background? Cutes! Sigh, I’m as proud of this pan as … a car person would be about a shiny new vehicle. !

On to the recipe – again, I sorta made this up as I went, so please adjust to your liking.

Pork Belly and Peach Risotto


  • 4 oz pork belly slab, or pancetta, cubed
  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pits removed and chopped into cubes
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 c. chicken stock
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 c. arborio rice
  • S&P
  • 1/4 c. Parm-Reg cheese
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

In medium saucepan, heat chicken stock to boil. Reduce to simmer and keep ready.

In large skillet or pan, heat over medium. Add pork and cook until much of the fat is rendered and is nicely browned. Remove to drain on paper towels. Add rice to pan and stir to coat in the bacon fat, reducing heat to low. Pull the thyme leaves off and mix them in, too.

Add wine and stir, scraping up browned bits at the bottom. Keep stirring until moisture is absorbed, then add 1/2 c. simmering chicken stock and stir constantly until absorbed. Repeat with the adding of chicken stock and stirring until the risotto is thick, creamy and has just lost its grainy bite – approx. 20 min. You will probably use all of the chicken stock.

Turn off the heat and add the cheese, stirring until melted, and add the bacon back in. Stir in the peach pieces and taste for seasonings (mine did not need any salt or pepper).

To serve, plate a large portion and sprinkle with basil leaves. I must insist on the basil. I at first added just as a color thing. But the taste! It really makes this something special, so I have included it in the recipe.

Ridiculous. Biting into the thick pork belly and then the peaches – a wonderful combination of textures and flavors.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Lobster and Strawberry Risotto

Can you spot the lobster peeking out from under the bright red berries?

It is strawberry season, and one day, Grant came home with way too many strawberries. We have had strawberry daquiries, strawberry-spinach salads, I’m making strawberry ice cream, strawberries over angel food cake, strawberry scones … how many ways can I use strawberries without its BFF, rhubarb? (Yankee food, btw)

A weird combination of seafood and fruit resides in this blog. And it somehow works. I never thought of strawberries as acidic, but in risotto, they provide the same juicy acidity that a tomato might, folded in just at the end. And with lobster? Who would have thought?

I found this first at Homerun Ballerina, where the blogger said she’d had similar dishes in other restaurants – lobster pairs well with fruit and slowly cooked rice, I guess.

While I did have fresh lobster, I wouldn’t cook it so long next time. I might sear it in butter at first and then stir in at the end, so it doesn’t get too overcooked. Either way, the lobster is a nice, sweet complement to the strawberries and savory risotto mixture.

Adapted from Homerun Ballerina:..

Lobster and Strawberry Risotto


  • 2 lobster tails, thawed and pulled from shells using sharp scissors, then chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced into chunks
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup of arborio rice
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 T unsalted butter for the end

Bring chicken stock to a boil and then lower to simmer.

Heat large skillet over medium and add butter. Once sizzling, add onion and cook until transparent. Add lobster and cook 30 seconds. At this point you could remove the lobster to add back in at the end, but I just left it in (and it got a bit overcooked). Add herbs and spices. Add your rice and stir to coat, 30 sec. Add wine and stir until absorbed, then turn heat to low. Add simmering chicken stock by the ladle-full, stirring constantly until absorbed. Keep adding liquid and stirring until rice just loses its grainy middle but is not mushy, about 20-25 min (You may not use all your stock).

Off the heat, add the last Tablespoon of butter and strawberries. Season to taste and serve!

Homerun ballerina has you stirring in mascarpone at the end, but I chose not to. I even think a little shaved Parm would be good at the end. Very fun, and I love how the lobster is the same color as the strawberries!

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Wild Mushroom Risotto

…or, No-Recipe Risotto!

Last week was my first visit of the year to the Piedmont Farmers Market, so you can imagine I got a little feverish when faced with all the great food I’d been missing. The result was locally raised beef (BEST hamburgers I’ve ever had), lots of strawberries, tomato plants, roasted peanuts and wild shiitake mushrooms that were as big as portobellos.

I at first thought the mushrooms were too expensive – $1 per cap, roughly. But when you price it out, it’s still about $6 cheaper than you’d find at Whole Foods – the mushrooms are much larger, fresh and grown locally, which is always better for every reason.

This year, I made it my goal to get over my mushroom aversion. I’ve always hated the taste and texture of fungi – they felt squishy between my teeth – but the earthy quality of wild mushrooms is slowly walking me to the other side. These beautiful, big mushrooms helped me take a giant leap: wild mushroom risotto.

I’m finally getting the hang of risotto. Finding that balance between al dente and too-mushy rice…grainy versus chewy. You want it creamy and smooth, but the rice grains to still hold on to their integrity.

The risotto formula is usually the same, so I whipped this up on a risky whim – without a recipe. I’ll do my best to describe how I did it below, but adjust to your preferences…

Wild Mushroom Risotto


  • 1 c. sliced wild mushrooms (I used shiitake)
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 3 shallots sliced
  • 4 sage leaves, ribboned
  • 4 c. chicken stock or broth
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine
  • Little over 1 c. arborio rice (if you add more, increase stock by 1 c.)
  • 1/4 c. Parm-Reg cheese, shredded (more for serving)
  • Handful chopped fresh parsley

Bring stock to simmer on back burner.

In large Dutch oven, heat on medium. Add bacon and cook until crisp – drain on paper towels. Add shallots and cook for 1 min. Add mushrooms and sage – stir until softened and fragrant, 1-2 min. Add rice and stir to coat, 1 min. Add wine and deglaze pan, reducing heat to low. Stir until absorbed.

Add 1/2 c. stock and stir until absorbed. Repeat with remaining stock, stirring constantly. When rice has just lost that grainy bite and is all creamy, add in the cheese and reserved bacon. Stir to combine – season with salt and pepper.

Serve with more Parm-Reg cheese and parsley.

This was really good, folks. The mushrooms weren’t too chewy or spongy, but played nicely with the smoky-salty bacon, buttery Parm-Reg cheese and light shallots. I’m a little jealous that I let a lucky guy take the leftovers to work …

One thing is for certain: I will be buying way more fungi and locally raised/grass-fed beef from now on. You just can’t compete with the quality (or price).

Enjoy your spring bounty, friends! xoxo

Bacon and Leek Risotto with Wild Mushrooms and Poached Egg

Bacon and leeks. One of my favorite combinations of flavors – whether that’s baked into a quiche or tart with Gruyere or mixed into a creamy risotto. Here, I added wild mushrooms, which gave it an extra nutty flavor once they browned in the bacon fat. I also added a few grates of nutmeg, because it goes so well with leeks.

The photos don’t do this dish justice. And word to the wise, don’t skimp on the bacon. Use the thick, butcher-shop kind for the best flavor.

I told you I had more runny-egg dishes up my sleeve…

Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Bacon and Leek Risotto with Wild Mushrooms and Poached Eggs


  • 6 large eggs
  • 5 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 large)
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice (about 10 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh Italian parsley leaves (for garnish)
  • Additional finely grated Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
Bring large skillet of water just to simmer over medium-low heat. Sprinkle water with salt. Working with 1 egg at a time, crack into small bowl and slide egg into simmering water. Cook eggs until whites are cooked through but yolks are still runny, 3 to 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, carefully transfer poached eggs to medium bowl filled with ice water. DO AHEAD Eggs can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate in same bowl of ice water.

Bring broth to simmer in medium saucepan; cover to keep warm.

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, stirring occasionally. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add mushrooms to drippings and saute 2-3 min, until browned. Drain on paper towels. Add leeks to drippings in pan; cook until soft but not brown, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer 2 generous tablespoonfuls leeks to small bowl; reserve for garnish. Add rice to pan; stir 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; stir until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup warm broth to saucepan; stir until broth is absorbed. Repeat adding broth and stirring until rice is tender but still firm to bite and sauce is creamy, stirring almost constantly, about 23 minutes total. Add bacon, mushrooms, chopped parsley, butter, and 2 tablespoons cheese. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Meanwhile, heat poached eggs in medium skillet of simmering water just until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Divide risotto among bowls. Top risotto in each bowl with poached egg. Sprinkle egg with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley leaves, additional cheese, and reserved leeks.

Meridian Restaurant

The food at Meridian is so good. Grant and I enjoyed a Groupon Date Night there last week, where he had the NC rock fish and grits while I had the seared scallops with andouille, leek and wild mushroom risotto. Everything – from the service to the appetizer to the meal – was superb.

My dish inspired me to make a bacon and leek risotto that also has wild mushrooms in it…and a poached egg on top, because that is my latest culinary crush.

Happy dining, friends! xoxo

Seared scallops with Christmas risotto

For Christmas Eve dinner, my sister and I prepared a meal perfect for the night before Christmas because it won’t compete with the rib roast and Yorkshire pudding. Scallops seared to a caramel brown sit atop a creamy risotto made with bacon, basil, jalapeno and bright red tomatoes – creating a red and green festive plate.

I’ve made this risotto a couple times before, after seeing it here on We Are Not Martha. However, I’ve had to change a few things. For example, adding the tomatoes at the very-very end to prevent them from dissolving into the risotto. Also, I used more chicken stock than it called for, to add extra creaminess. The only fat you’ll need comes from the smoky bacon, which will blow your family away with the addition of garlic and white wine.

Truly, there’s little to dislike about this dish. The following offers small portions for 4 people, but plenty for 2-3.

Seared scallops with Christmas risotto


  • 1 pound large sea scallops, rinsed, patted dry, salt and peppered
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, minced (or 1/2 of large jalapeno) – approx 2 tsp
  • 3/4 c. arborio rice
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
  • 3 c. chicken stock, low-sodium
  • 2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced (roughly 1 c.)
  • Handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 c. Parmesano Reggiano, grated, plus more for serving

Heat chicken stock in medium saucepan over medium heat on back burner. Keep simmering.

Meanwhile, add bacon to large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, reducing heat to medium-low, until bacon is crispy. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then pour off all but 1 T of the bacon fat.

Return pan to medium-low heat and add garlic and jalapeno (you could also substitute a pinch of red pepper flakes here). Cook for a minute, until foaming.

Stir in rice and cook until translucent around the edges; 1-2 min.

Add wine, scraping up the bacon bits from the bottom. When wine is absorbed, add 1 ladle (1/2 c.) chicken stock. Stir until absorbed, repeating until all the stock is used or the risotto is creamy with just the smallest bite to it. You don’t want it to be grainy in the middle – but slightly al dente. Check for seasonings (I’ve never had to add extra salt and pepper).

While the rice is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium heat with butter and EVOO. When butter is melted and foaming, add scallops and sear until a nice brown crust forms on each side. Reserve to a plate.

When risotto is done, stir in the cheese until melted, then add the basil, tomatoes and reserved bacon.

To serve, spoon risotto onto plates, then top with scallops. Serve with extra cheese to dust on top.

I can’t tell you how delicious this is. Served with more white wine and a salad, my family was sighing with happiness. Please try this – special enough for a holiday, but perfect for any ol’ day. Enjoy, friends! xoxo