19 January 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Risotto Cakes with Tomato Sauce

Roasted Pumpkin Risotto Cakes with Tomato Sauce
Do you have a favourite recipe that you will always make extra just so that you will have leftovers? I would have to say that I am guilty of making extra mashed potatoes so they can do double duty the next day as either pancakes or patties. The other dish I always make extra of is risotto just so that I can make these risotto cakes or patties with their gooey buffalo mozzarella centre. The risotto recipe below is a delicious winter version. When served immediately with its creamy consistency and outstanding flavour it is a winner, but as it sits overnight the liquid continues to absorb into the rice and you have the makings of incredible risotto cakes that are reminiscent of the Sicilian specialty arancini the following day. 

Arancini are golf ball size risotto balls covered in breadcrumbs, fried to a golden hue that can be filled with anything you can imagine. From savoury meats and seafood, cheeses and vegetables, to the sweetness of  chocolate and strawberries. Sold on the streets of Sicily, and said to date back to the 10th century, they are the original street food on the island of Sicily. The idea sounds simple to use leftover risotto for street food but as Pino Correlli points out in his Il Libro d'Oro della Cucina e Del Vini Della Sicilia this simple street food speaks volumes about the history of the Sicilian people over the centuries. The canestrato fresco cheese used on the island originates in Greece (but is replaced with mozzarella off of the island), the rice and saffron comes from the Arabs, the ragout from the French, and the tomato sauce from the Spanish. This dish speaks to the diversity of the history of the island in every bite.

These risotto cakes or patties reminiscent of arancini are a symbol of this comfort food driven season where dishes evoke our emotional responses and have a comfort and familiarity about them. When it is minus 25 Celcius with the wind chill comfort food is appreciated, if not necessary. The risotto has been your meal the day before and the leftovers have been kept in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them. The actual assembly and shallow frying of these pseudo-arancini cakes takes a matter of minutes which makes them perfect for a vegetarian weeknight meal. Assemble the cakes, shallow fry them until heated through and serve with your favourite tomato sauce. I prefer to use dense, sweet kabocha squash for this recipe, but you could substitute acorn squash or pumpkin. The recipe below makes only enough risotto for this recipe but you will figure it out. This risotto cake recipe transcends seasons since your risotto reflects whatever is in season at the moment. In the Spring use lemon and fresh garden peas, asparagus or furled fiddleheads. 

**Roasted Pumpkin Risotto Cakes with Tomato Sauce**

4 cups leftover pumpkin risotto (recipe below)
4 buffalo mozzarella boccincini, cut in half
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup olive oil for frying
1 cup of your favourite tomato sauce

With your hands shape approximately 1/2 cup risotto into a patty. In the centre place 1/2 off a bocconcini ball and cover with another 1/2 cup of risotto. Form into a patty with the mozzarella as the filling. Seal completely and form into a uniform patty. Dip the entire patty into breadcrumbs and set aside. Continue with the rest of the risotto and mozzarella until all is used up. Place breadcrumb covered patties into the refrigerator to set.

When ready shallow fry in the olive oil over medium-high heat until heated through and golden brown. Serve immediately with your favourite heated tomato sauce of your choice.

Serves 4

**Roasted Pumpkin Risotto**
2 kabocha squash or pumpkin(about 2 lb/900 g each)
4 tablespoons (60 mL) olive oil
Large pinch nutmeg
Kosher salt + ground white pepper to taste
6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable stock (with a few stamens of saffron thrown in)
1 medium leek, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups (500 mL) Arborio rice
1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine
1/4 cup (60 mL) each: freshly grated Parmesan, toasted pumpkin seeds
Parmesan shavings for garnish
With a cleaver or heavy knife, cut squash into quarters. Remove and discard the seeds. Toss the squash with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) oil, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Place on baking tray, flesh side up. Roast in preheated 400F (200C) oven until fork tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and cool. Scoop 1/2 of the flesh into your food processor, discarding skins. Purée until smooth. Set aside. Cut the remaining squash into 1/2-inch (1-cm) cubes and set aside.
Place vegetable stock in medium pot. Season with salt. Keep hot over low heat.
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat remaining 3 tablespoons (45 mL) oil over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic. Cook, stirring, until translucent, approximately 3 minutes. Add rice. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add wine. Cook, stirring constantly, until the wine is absorbed. Stir in the squash purée.
Add 1 cup (250 mL) hot stock. Cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Repeat adding stock in 1-cup (250-mL) increments and stirring until stock is finished and rice al dente, 18 to 20 minutes in total. Stir in the diced squash near the end just to heat through. Remove from heat. Stir in grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Pour risotto onto warm serving platter or bowl. Garnish with Parmesan shavings.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. A great way of using risotto leftovers! Your risotto cakes look mighty tasty.



  2. delicious looking combiantion of flavours

  3. I bet these are fabulous with a fried egg and a little southwestern sauce

  4. I am doing this with ALL of my leftover risotto from now on! It's never as good the next day, anyway.

  5. Guilty as charged - only know all my leftover risotto will be made with a fried egg.

  6. My first time visiting your recipe page. I came over from One Perfect Bite, nice to meet you!!

  7. I adore arancini Val! Great to eat but a pain to assemble.

  8. We love leftovers in our house. Your risotto looks so comforting this morning Val. Would be good for breakfast.

  9. I always have leftover risotto. Not because I want to have extra, but because I haven't mastered cutting the recipe and not getting undercooked risotto! This is a good use for the extra.

  10. Such a good idea to use risotto twice. Someone suggested these with an egg and I love that idea (poached maybe.

  11. This sounds and looks heavenly. Now I have to make some risotto just to try these beauties. I am finally getting brave enough to make risotto; I battled my fear and won.

  12. I love the idea that half the squash is pureed in the risotto making for a really concentrated flavor. Very nice recipe x2!!

  13. My mother always made extra risotto with tomato meat sauce so she could make suppli' the following day. Your roasted pumpkin risotto sounds really nice.

  14. I love both of these recipe ideas Val! So yummy!

    We ate some wonderful arancini in Sicily, but they were more like baseball sized!

  15. These are so similar to that Sicilian Specialty - something like aranci? I love them. Pumpkin risotto sounds sublime - and it is brilliant that you have an equally delicious idea for the leftovers.


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