Normally, when you make risotto you make just enough that it all gets eaten. Even if there is little extra you finish it off leaving just an empty pan. However, this past weekend I made an extra-large serving for us and lo and behold what was in the fridge the next day but a small plate of leftover risotto. Of course you can just do what you do with normal leftovers; re-heat and eat. Or you can take that leftover risotto and make riso al salto: a quick and easy crispy fried rice cake. Now that’s a good leftover!
Riso al salto, or risotto al salto, is a Milan dish made with leftover saffron risotto. While that’s the traditional way, you can really make it with whatever leftover risotto you have on hand (mine was shaved Brussels sprouts risotto). It is an extremely basic recipe too since you’ve already cooked the risotto. All you need to do is create a cake or patty and fry it in a pan. You end up with a crispy, cheesy, buttery, rice pancake. What’s not to love about this?
So there’s the regular way and an easy way. For the regular way, you just fry the cake in the pan. Can’t be much simpler, right? Well, it wasn’t. Eventually the patty gets hot and whatever it is binding the cake together kind of melts and it kind of separates and comes apart. It gets very…loose. I discovered this as I tried to make the cake ‘jump’ over (that’s the salto part, jump or hop in Italian) with a spatula. Not so good. I thought perhaps quickly adding a beaten egg would help bind and make it easier to flip. Better, but again, not so good. Then, remembering something I read, I turned over the small plate, placed it on top of the risotto, held it in place and flipped the pan over. Just like making a Spanish tortilla. Worked like a charm and a few minutes later I was spooning some truffle hunter sauce on top and having a fantastic lunch. I think I could have let it cook a little longer and crisped it up more, but I was really hungry!
Next time you make risotto, do yourself a favor and add an extra ½ C so you have just enough left over for a quick riso al salto.
Riso al Salto (1 serving, trust me you won’t be sharing!)
- 1 C leftover risotto
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1 egg
Take the leftover risotto out of the refrigerator and allow to warm up.
Beat the egg and mix into the risotto. On a small plate shape the risotto into a medium thick cake/patty.
Heat a sauté pan on the stove over medium-high heat and melt the butter.
Slide the risotto cake into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from the burner, place the small plate on top of the cake and flip the pan over. The risotto al salto should now be cooked side up on the plate. Slide it back into the pan and cook the other side for 2-3 minutes until brown.
Slide the cake onto a clean plate, season with salt and pepper, and eat.