Monthly Archives: December 2010

Risotto Cakes with Italian Fontina & Black Truffles


Risotto Cakes with Italian Fontina and Black Truffles
Richard Erickson, chef Bistro-to-Go, Kingston, New York

The inspirations for this recipe are the savory rice balls of Sicily known as arancine, or “little oranges”, due to their golden crust.  Traditionally they are filled with meat or cheese and eaten as snacks in bars and cafes. Our version omits the filling and we serve the cakes as an appetizer or on top of an array of roasted, steamed, and grilled seasonal vegetables. This version is especially festive for holiday entertaining – we’re making the small ones for our New Year’s Eve party.

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup each finely diced onion, celery and carrot
2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 1/4 cup arborio rice
Salt & pepper to taste
1 egg
1 cup grated Fontina
1 cup grated Caciotta al Tartufo (black truffle cheese)
1 cup fine dried bread crumbs
Vegetable or light olive oil for frying

1. Heat the stock. In a separate sauce pan heat the olive oil and butter, add the finely diced vegetables and cook over moderate heat until the onions are transluscent.

2. Add the rice, salt and pepper.  Stir to coat completely, then begin ladling in the warm stock.  Add 1/2 cup at a time stirring and making sure the liquid has been absorbed before adding more. Rice varies so you may need more or less liquid. Unlike a traditional risotto, cook until the rice is soft and creamy all the way through, about 25-30 minutes.

3. Put the cooked rice into a mixing bowl, add the cheese and the egg, mix well and chill.

4. Depending on whether you will be making an appetizer or an entree, you will choose a scoop that will give you either a small (2-3 bite morsel) or a dinner size portion. Form into a patty, roll in the bread crumbs and assemble on a cookie sheet, which can be kept refrigerated until ready to cook.

5. Heat oil in frying pan and cook on each side until golden brown. This can be done ahead and then reheated in the oven on a cookie sheet, which makes a very party friendly appetizer!

Gluten Free Latkes!

We loved making the traditional potato latkes during Hannukah and people gobbled them up – but we’ve noticed more and more folks requesting gluten free foods, so Richard invented a delicious vegetable quinoa latke that was a real crowd pleaser! Here’s what he has to say:

“The quinoa latkes have been such a hit this past week I thought they deserved a mention.  I absolutely love the taste of quinoa and have been making tabouli with it all summer long. However, tabouli is a warm weather dish and I’ve been brainstorming about some type of gluten-free savory patty or cake and suddenly last week when we were making potato latkes it all happened in a flash. Quinoa latkes!!

Quinoa cooks very quickly, 2 cups quinoa to 4 cups salted water. Combine the cooked quinoa with a finely minced onion, scallion, parsley, 1 grated carrot and 2 medium grated zucchini (which are salted first, then squeezed dry).  Soy flour works well as a binder or you can also use mashed potato flakes. Regular flour would be our normal binder but then it obviously would not be gluten-free.  I used a little over  half a cup for this quantity.

Mix everything together with 4 beaten eggs, season with salt and freshly ground pepper. We use an ice cream scoop to portion out the proper amount for each latke and then shape into patties. The raw latke should hold together fairly well and it will tighten up a bit once you begin to fry it.  If they do not hold together or seem too wet add more flour, too dry, add another egg.  We always test one first to see if the seasoning is correct before making the whole batch.  Don’t be discouraged if they don’t hold together at first, the ratio of vegetable, quinoa, flour, and egg just needs to be adjusted.

If you’re experienced in making regular potato latkes, the cooking technique is very similar once you begin to fry them – you want a nice golden brown color and do a test to make sure it’s cooked all the way through.

The nice nutty flavor of quinoa is delicious combined with the vegetables and fried.  These “latkes” are great with sour cream or just as an accompaniment to a luncheon or dinner dish.”