Food– risotto cakes

I have a great idea for your leftover risotto….and don’t ever tell me you never have leftovers!

Risotto Cakes from "Verve"
Risotto Cakes from “Verve” in Vancouver

I make risotto from time to time and there’s always more left over for another meal.  It’s so rich on its own so it’s nice to have an alternative for it, otherwise it can get boring.

I had the pleasure of visiting a new place called Verve (previously Central on Denman in West End, Vancouver).  I was looking for a place to listen to jazz and grab a decent bite to eat and luckily this place did not disappoint.

Verve chef Peter Chun sent a few plates over our way when I ended up there with a friend one evening.  Everything was good but the standout share plate were the risotto cakes.  Granted we didn’t try every single thing on the menu but hey…what a clever way to use leftover risotto.  I don’t have his recipe but I found one that you can use and bend to your own liking since I know whoever is reading this is a creative type person who loves trying different things.

Here it is:

3 cups leftover risotto (roasted garlic, mushroom, etc.)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup canola oil

In a large bowl add the leftover risotto, eggs, corn, bread crumbs, and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Mix to combine well. Form into 12 balls about the size of a walnut, then flatten into patties and arrange on a baking sheet.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook until they are golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the patties from the oil to a baking sheet lined with a brown bag or paper towels to drain the excess oil. Transfer to a serving tray and serve hot.

Source: courtesy of Sandra Lee, Food Network

Verve: 1072 Denman St, Vancouver
Phone:(604) 673-0859

Simple & Satisfying – Wild Mushroom Risotto with White Wine & Truffle Oil.

Rich Risotto dish

Making a flavourful Risotto is a nice addition to any meal or even as a main course.  The only problem is making sure the Arborio rice (in between a rice & tiny pasta) is neither too chewy or too soft at the finish.

Even though I’m not Italian (although I have family members and friends who are) I can tell you how to make a really good one.

Here’s what you need to serve 6 as an Appetizer or 4 as a Main:


Arborio Rice – 1 cup

Dried shitake or porcini mushrooms (1/2 oz, about 1 cup), rinsed then soaked in boiling water for about 30 minutes.  Remove mushrooms, squeezing excess water but reserve some liquid for pot.  Coarsely chop mushrooms and set aside.

1 onion, thinly sliced.

3 cups of chicken stock.  You can keep it warm over another stovetop element until ready to add, little by little.

2 Tbsp. butter

2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ cup of dry white wine

½ lb. fresh wild mushrooms (chanterelles, morels, shitake, porcini or combo of all) washed and sliced.

4 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped (optional)

½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

salt & ground black pepper, to taste

2 oz. fresh truffles or white truffle oil for finish

Chopped flat-leaf parsley or chives for over top

Melt butter over medium heat.  Add shallots, garlic, onion and sage.  Cook until onions and shallots are transparent, about 5 minutes.  Add rice, and cook stirring constantly, until lightly toasted (not burned) and well-coated with butter, about 5 minutes.

Add *wine and stir until absorbed into rice.  Stir in all the mushrooms (ones that were previously dried & fresh), reserved cooking liquid  (about 1/2 cup) and ½ cup of the warm chicken stock.  *You can absorb yourself with some wine too while cooking – I highly recommend it.

I almost always use a cast iron frying pan

Cook over simmering heat, stirring frequently until ALMOST all liquid has evaporated.  Remember not to let it dry out completely.  Continue adding stock, about ¾ (175 ml) of a cup at a time, stirring frequently, until rice is tender but firm to the bite and mixture is creamy but not soupy, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in ½ Tbsp. of butter and the parmesan cheese.  Season with kosher salt and black pepper.  Garnish with flat-leaf parsley or chives for presentation.  Then shave fresh truffles onto risotto upon serving.  I used white truffle oil instead & it was amazing.  Buon Appetito as they say in Italy.