Pasta Risotto & You

by Nancy Caivano


Roasted Garlic Risotto Cakes
with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Serves 6-8



2 whole heads of garlic,
   excess papery white skin removed, but unpeeled
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups simmering chicken stock
3 tbsp. butter
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and pepper

All purpose flour
Olive oil for cooking

Spicy Tomato Sauce



Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat garlic cloves with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Wrap each head with aluminum foil. Bake until garlic is tender, about 30-40 minutes. Cool garlic; peel by squeezing garlic out of each clove. purée 1 head of garlic in a food processor. Thinly slice remaining garlic. Set garlic purée and slices aside.

In a large saucepan, heat 2-tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot. Cook until onion is translucent. Add rice, stirring constantly, and cook 5 minutes more, making sure rice does not brown. Add wine, stirring constantly, and let totally evaporate. When wine is evaporated, begin adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, letting each addition evaporate before adding the next addition.

After fourth addition of stock is added, begin tasting rice. Rice should be al dente when done. You need to keep tasting rice, because, depending on rice, you may or may not have to use all of the stock.

After last addition of stock is absorbed, remove from heat, and stir in butter, 1/2 cup Romano, garlic purée, garlic slices, parsley and sage. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Transfer risotto to large bowl. Cool 30 minutes. Mix remaining Pecorino into risotto. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

Shape risotto into patties (see note). Place risotto cakes on baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Place flour in shallow dish. Lightly coat each risotto cake with flour. Cover bottom of a heavy, large skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Add risotto cakes and cook until golden brown and heated through, about 3-5 minutes per side, depending on size. Transfer risotto cakes to plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining risotto cakes, adding oil if necessary. Transfer risotto cakes to platter and serve with Spicy Tomato Sauce.

You can shape the risotto into any size patty that you like from bite size to almost pan size and cut into wedges. As an appetizer I prefer the bite size, but go with your preference. You can make the risotto up to 5 days before. Place in an airtight container with plastic wrap directly on top of risotto. You can make the cakes up to 3 days before. Place on a plastic lined baking sheet and wrap very well with plastic wrap. If you want to freeze the risotto cakes, cook the cakes before freezing them as they will be too mushy to fry afterwards. Place cakes on a plastic lined baking sheet and cover very well with plastic wrap. You can freeze for up to a month. Defrost uncovered in a very low oven (about 200 degrees). When a knife can easily be inserted into cake, raise heat to 400 degrees and cook until crisp.


Spicy Tomato Sauce

Makes about 2 to 2-1/2 cups


4 tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped (or 1 tbsp. jar chopped garlic)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 hot Italian cherry peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chiffonade basil
Kosher salt and pepper



In a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion. Sauté until just beginning to brown. Add red pepper flakes and cherry peppers. Sauté for 10 minutes more. Add tomatoes and wine. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add herbs. Simmer 20 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve.

You can make the sauce ahead of time and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze in an airtight container for up to a month.


Pasta Risotto and You


Copyright © 2001, Nancy Caivano. All rights reserved.


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This page created December 2001