Who knew that that cold barley risotto from the fridge could be transformed into this crispy, creamy, cheesy Barley Risotto Cake? Seriously, leftovers never tasted so good. If you've got leftover risotto in the fridge, barley or otherwise, you are minutes away from a deliciously quick lunch or dinner.
If you've ever ordered arancini at an Italian restuarant, these Barley Risotto Cakes are a very similar concept. Arancini hail from Sicily and are basically deep fried rice balls stuffed with cheese, ragu, or some other kind of savory filling. They are, quite obviously, DELICIOUS. I've used the same basic idea here but instead of balls we have cakes, and instead of rice, leftover barley risotto. And did I mentioned these cakes are stuffed with creamy, melty Danish havarti cheese? Yes. And no messy deep frying here. Just a quick pan fry in a small skillet and these cakes are as crispy as can be.
These Barley Risotto Cakes are so delightful, I might consider making a double batch of risotto to ensure that I have enough left over for this easy meal later in the week. I would even consider making a batch of barley risotto on a lazy Sunday afternoon and tossing it in the fridge for the sole purpose of making these cakes on a busy weeknight. Yes, they are that simple and delicious.
Just a couple words of caution I have for you with respect to these Barley Risotto Cakes:
- Make sure the shredded cheese is completely encased inside the cold risotto before you dip the cakes in the egg and panko. You want the cheese staying inside the cake rather than oozing out onto the pan as cakes cook.
- Monitor your heat carefully while the cakes are cooking. You want to make sure that the outside doesn't brown before the inside has a chance to become creamy and cheesy. After originally heating the oil over medium heat, I turned the heat to medium low after adding the cakes to the pan and continued cooking at that temperature for the remainder of the time. This method yielded perfectly browned and crispy cakes that were creamy and cheesy on the inside.
If you originally made the recipe for Creamy Barley Risotto with Roasted Mushrooms and Crispy Kale, I recommend tossing some leftover roasted mushrooms with a simple green salad for an easy side. Add a lemon wedge to squeeze over it all just before tucking in and you are in business.
Please give these easy Barley Risotto Cakes a try and let me know how they turn out! They are leftovers on a whole new level.
Barley Risotto Cakes
- 1 cup leftover Barley Risotto chilled
- 2 tablespoons shredded Danish havarti cheese mozzarella or Fontina would also be fine
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Coarse salt for sprinkling
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Divide risotto into two equal portions. Form each portion into a 3 inch wide cake.
- Make an indentation in the top of each cake with your thumb. Put 1 tablespoon of cheese inside each indentation and carefully mold the risotto around the cheese, making sure that the cheese mixture is completely encased inside the risotto.
- Beat egg in a shallow dish and transfer panko bread crumbs to a second shallow dish.
- Coat each cake in egg and then in panko, pressing down on the crumbs so that they adhere to the cakes.
- Pour enough oil into a small skillet so that it reaches a depth of about ¼ inch. Heat oil over medium heat. Add cakes to the pan and reduce heat to medium low. Cook until golden brown and warmed through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer cakes to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with coarse salt. Serve with lemon wedges.