Saturday, February 16, 2013

Risotto Cakes with Goat Cheese, Shrimp, and Arugula


I realized that a whole lot of my last minute, go-to recipes are of the cake/burger/patty variety: black bean, salmon, veggies. I think that part of the reason is that my toddler (and myself, if I'm honest) loves the crispy edges. I also like how adaptable those recipes are to whatever leftover bits I have hiding in the fridge.

Our story begins on Valentine's Day. We have a two year old and decided to stay in for the night instead of facing the masses. I wanted something a little special besides the pizza that my husband requested, but, in typical fashion, I decided this at like 5:00. I remembered the risotto we'd had two days before and thought I'd try making risotto patties. And then a whole lot of yummy happened. I made it as an appetizer and formed small patties, but the recipe that follows is for an entree. It can be modified easily for appetizers - just make smaller risotto patties and saute a few more goat cheese rounds.

Risotto is incredibly forgiving and will taste good no matter what ingredients you have (or don't have) on hand. I've made it for this recipe with stock, wine, and mushrooms, but also with water and a bit of grated parmesan. If you have a handful of veggies that need to be used, throw them in, too. Adapt the risotto to whatever you have. It should be made the day before or morning of if you're concerned about time - this dish is very easy to throw together with already prepared risotto.

And yes, it was a winner with my toddler. See?

She wasn't crazy about arugula the first time, but she's warming up to it. Sometimes it just takes several introductions before a kid will eat a food. If you haven't had arugula, it's a nice little leafy green with a slightly peppery bite. Substitute baby spinach or whatever's in season if you can't find it.


printable version here
Makes 4-6 servings

Risotto
1 1/2 c. arborio rice (risotto)
1/2 c. white wine
4 1/2 c. stock 
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. butter
In a large saucepan or dutch oven, warm the oil and butter over medium heat. Saute the shallot and garlic until softened and pour in the rice, stirring to coat. Warm the rice for a few minutes and then pour in the wine, stirring. When the wine has disappeared, add the stock one cup at a time, stirring regularly. Keep pouring, stirring, and simmering until all of the liquid has cooked into the rice. Take a bite to make sure the rice is soft; add more liquid if not. Cover and store in the fridge until you're ready for dinner.

The rest of the ingredients
1 egg
1/2 c. flour, plus 2 tablespoons (divided)
1 c. panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons milk
6 oz. goat cheese - keep this in the fridge until right before preparing
scant pound of shrimp, peeled, deveined, and rinsed (plus or minus, depending on how many servings you want)
1 clove garlic, minced
splash of white wine
olive oil for cooking
7 oz. salad bag of arugula, rinsed and dried
olive oil and vinegar to drizzle

Grab a skillet and pour enough olive oil to cover the bottom well - warm it over medium low heat. Stir the panko and parmesan together in a bowl. Prepare a plate with a paper towel on top.

Get the risotto from the fridge and add the egg and 1/2 c. flour to it about a tablespoon at a time, stirring well. Stop adding flour when the mixture sticks together and can be formed into patties. Form about six patties and dredge them in the panko on both sides. Crank up the heat to medium and wait a minute to allow the oil time to heat up some more. Drop the cakes into the skillet and saute until golden brown, then flip to the other side. Try not to flip more often than necessary. Cool on the plate with paper towel. Add more olive oil to the skillet if needed.                                                   
            
Remove the goat cheese from the fridge and slice into six pieces. If your knife gets gunky, wipe it off with a wet cloth. If the goat cheese crumbles, just smoosh it back together. Dredge the goat cheese in flour, then milk, then finally the panko mixture. Saute in the olive oil until golden - this happens fairly quickly, within a minute or so. Flip to the other side. Keep an eye on these since they're cheese and can obviously melt. I haven't had that happen, but I'm sure it can. Place the cheese on the risotto cakes.
Finally, saute the garlic until fragrant and add the wine and shrimp. I use medium sized shrimp, which were done cooking after about 1 1/2-2 minutes. 

Place the arugula on a plate, top with the risotto cake, goat cheese, and shrimp. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, if desired. 

Bon Appétit!