Risotto Cakes 02

This may or may not be a slightly confusing post. Partly as I have a Risotto Cakes post already, hence this one titled Risotto Cakes 02. However, when this particular risotto was made late last night I had no intention of going with its recipe here. Instead, this post was supposed to be about using leftover risotto and making that into cakes the following day. And so this is. It’s just, with this vegetarian version of my Chicken, Butternut Squash and Swede Risotto I didn’t expect it to turn out so good. It’s absolutely delicious. And this is made with shop-bought organic vegetable stock, rather than home-made chicken stock. Admittedly, I’ve been using the same brand for years, and it’s definitely tried and tested. Never fails. So! I’m going with this post as vegetarian. And will update this with relevant links to newer vegetarian (as and when I make them) risotto recipes as I can’t quite get enough of risotto right now. To the extent I’ve just cooked this one again. Albeit without the caramelised onions – how could I forget those?!

And the next time I’ll try and not forget. It was still good, just not as good. This time around I ended up smothering the risotto with freshly grated Grana Padano cheese – normally for me grated cheese is only used if the pasta or risotto dish isn’t quite up to the mark! Only my opinion…

For the other vegetarian recipes:
Chickpea and Mushroom Orzotto (Pearl Barley Risotto)
Risotto with borlotti beans & mushrooms.

Oven Baked Risotto Cakes, with roasted pumpkin and pan-fried swede/rutabaga

  • Servings: 2 (or 1 with enough leftover to make cakes the following day)
  • Print


  • olive oil
  • 250g (8.818 oz) x onions, peeled, trimmed, halved and sliced from near the root end toward where the stem would be, then turn and slice off the root end and discard
  • 200g (7.055 oz) x roasted pumpkin (weight after the pumpkin has been roasted), cubed
  • up to 1/2 x teaspoon dried sage
  • 150g (5.291 oz) x pan-fried swede/rutabaga (weight after cooking it), cubed
  • 400ml (13.53 fl oz) x cold water
  • 1 x organic vegetable stock cube
  • 100g (3.527 oz) x arborio rice, well rinsed in cold water
  • 2 x garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 x teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • up to 100ml (3.381 fl oz) x single/light cream, more to personal taste
  • seasoning, both freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

FOR THE RISOTTO CAKES, the following day (using half the risotto within recipe above):

  • up to 150g (5.291 oz) x sliced bread (home-made from my Polenta ‘Quick’ Bread) + extra if needed to make the dried breadcrumbs- see Notes below
  • 1 x organic egg, separated – yolk can be used within the risotto filling AND
  • 1 x egg white, lightly beaten

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.

NOTES: For coating 4 fairly large risotto cakes I need a minimum of 60g (2.116 oz) x dried breadcrumbs (90g (3.175 oz) x sliced polenta bread will give me exactly 60g (2.116 oz) dried). These figures are minimum only as it’s much better to have extra to hand. About 15g (0.529 oz) dried breadcrumbs per cake would be needed.


  • Preheat oven to 200°C or 392°F.
  • Brush the pumpkin with olive oil (after splitting it in half and removing the seeds) and place cut side up on a suitable baking tray. If you want to season then do so to personal taste. Place into the preheated oven and roast for about 40 minutes. When golden on top check with a fork or skewer to make sure the flesh is fully cooked. Remove and set aside. When cool enough to do so remove the flesh with a spoon and add to a bowl.
  • Put a small heavy-based saucepan or pan on heat No 3 with a little oil. Place the sliced swede/rutabaga into the pan and add a lid. Allow about 5 or more minutes for each side, checking to make sure there’s no scorching. Remove lid, sprinkle over the dried sage, reduce heat and continue to cook until the slices are easily pierced with a fork. Take off heat and set aside. When cool enough to handle remove the slices of swede and cut into smallish cubes. Leave most of the sage in the pan as I don’t want it in my risotto, and I certainly wouldn’t suggest sprinkling the sage directly into the rice mixture!
  • In the meantime add the onions to a heavy-based pan or saucepan with a lid. Add enough oil to coat its base. Put on heat No 3, with the lid, for about 10 minutes or so, stirring through occasionally. Remove lid after 15 minutes, stir through and continue to cook until onions are nicely golden.
  • Prep the stock by adding the stock cube to the cold water and put on heat No 3 until dissolved (I use the same saucepan as the risotto, and pour the stock into a measuring jug).
  • For the actual risotto add a good glug of olive oil to a large heavy-based pan and put on low heat to start with. Add the rice and stir occasionally for about 4 or 5 minutes. Have the stock to hand and start to add ladlefuls to the rice, upping the heat to No 4. Allow enough time for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. Crush the garlic straight into the pan and stir through. Sprinkle over the red pepper flakes.
  • Keep adding a little stock to the rice as before, and after about 10 minutes start checking individual grains of rice for how well it’s cooking. Around this time I’ll start to add some cream along with stock and stir through more often. And reduce the heat to prevent the possibility of any scorching.
  • When rice is cooked to personal taste add the onions, cubed pumpkin and swede and stir through. Add a little more stock and cream if the risotto is too thick at this stage. I tend to plonk on a lid, keep it on lowest heat and get everything else ready for lunch or sups.


  • Make sure the risotto mixture is well chilled. If making the risotto for cakes same day then add the mixture to a suitable container and leave in the fridge until absolutely cold. It’s far easier to form the risotto balls/cakes if the mixture is cold. When ready to use simply mash the cubed pumpkin and swede with a fork and stir this through to combine, which makes it easier to roll the balls.
  • Beat the egg white lightly in a small bowl and set aside. Have a plate ready to place the balls on as they’re shaped. And have a baking tray nearby ready to place the crumbed balls on to it.
  • Have the breadcrumbs ready and in a large bowl or saucepan. For advice on how to make your own then click on my post, Breadcrumbs.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C or 392°F.
  • With wet hands grab a dessertspoonful of the risotto mixture, place in one hand and with the other clasp this tightly to rid any trapped air. Then, gently shape into a ball. Leave on the plate and continue to shape the other balls.
  • Place each ball into the egg white, and make sure it’s completely covered by gently lifting it and flipping it over with a fork. Lift it out and place into the breadcrumbs. All I do is grab the saucepan and swirl. The pan that is. This coats the balls quite nicely and helps to keep their shape. With a fork the ball is then flipped over and the process repeated to get the ball completely covered. Carefully lift the coated ball out of the breadcrumbs and place on the baking tray. Repeat with the others. I tend to repeat this process again before placing them in the oven. Second time is much easier, and it’s just to make sure the ball is as spherical as possible.
  • Place in the centre of the oven and bake for at least 20 minutes, or until nicely golden. Do check one of them to make sure that it’s hot right through to its centre.
  • Very delicious served with salad.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Kitschnflavours:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny Hepburn

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  1. Mmm risotto cake. I may be able to make a completely inauthentic baked arancini with this recipe (or maybe I should sick to calling them risotto cakes to avoid the wrath of Italian grandmamas). Am interested – you don’t add cheese even to tomato based pasta? I don’t like cheese on dairy-based sauce, and not sure about pesto-type sauces, but they look pretty against the red tomatoes.

    • I’m just trying to avoid the wrath of Southern Italians everywhere as arancini are one thing, whereas this is totally different! As for using cheese, I do like grated cheese over pasta. Occasionally! If it’s really simple, like pan-fried courgette and garlic with a little bit of cream, then lots of cheese, please. And I might add a little to the breadcrumbs today as I’m cooking more risotto cakes for a late lunch – if I quite responding to comments and start cooking, that is!

  2. You baked these?! They look very inviting, I’d assumed they be deep fried as they have such a perfect all-over colouring. Have you ever tried deep frying or are they a little too delicate for that..?

    • I’m getting far better results by baking these. Several weeks ago I deep-fried them, only to be horrified at how much oil these breadcrumbs will soak up. As I don’t have a grinder the crumbs aren’t fine enough. With the use of the egg white the crumbs will glue really nicely, and when baked will give a really good crunch. When deep-fried they just taste greasy. Besides, it seems to be a lot of oil and butter that I can’t really deal with. As for the colour, I’m using a part polenta home-baked bread. On purpose! As I wanted that pale yellow as a coating. They go even more golden in colour, but as I had to take photos and reheat I didn’t want to spoil my lunch!

      • I seeee. Well I’m making them tomorrow (although sadly I’m not making my own breadcrumbs!) so will be following your advice and baking them! Thank you

        • Well, you’ll know to include an egg yolk or whole beaten egg to the risotto mixture if you suspect it’s going to be too delicate. I’ve gotten used to mine already, even though I’m cooking differing types, and usually don’t bother to add any. However, my breadcrumbs are fairly robust – if that’s actually possible :) Hope they turn out okay!

          • I’ll see how firm the mix looks tomorrow! I’m using Panko, suspect they might not crisp up as nicely in the oven as yours did, perhaps they will be better shallow fried…. Hmm Reckon ill just see how I feel tomorrow – thanks for the tips!!

  3. Were these from leftover risotto then? I think a lot of the times left over creations are fantastic because the flavours have mixed together better by that time. They look very impressive Johnny!

    • That does happen here, too. Besides, with risotto cakes they are generally made with leftovers. Having said that I would cook this fresh, chill, then shape into balls to serve as a starter or finger food. Just loving anything crunchy at the moment :) Oh, and anything made with cream!

    • Thanks for the link. Aren’t risotto balls/cakes just great! In fatc, I’ve already bought leeks to go with mushrooms for my next risotto :) Seriously, can’t get enough of it right now. Just seems to be the comfort food I’m craving, that’s also relatively healthy.

  4. What a great recipe. As our kids keep growing I always barely make enough and I keep increasing the recipe! Eventually though I’ll have leftovers and this is something I would want to try.

    • That’s one of the few pluses with cooking for one. I get to eat exactly what and when! These can be prepared in bulk, so to speak. And as long as they’re left to chill for long enough the risotto could be used to make these same day, if you were throwing a party.

      Your trip looked amazing! Looking forward to more posts :)

  5. Love the risotto cakes, I am so pleased to see that they turned out so beautifully brown and crunchy by baking, I always fried and you are right they can be a bit on the oily side. These look lovely, gorgeous photo too!

    • Thanks for that! Yes, as my breadcrumbs are done by hand (rather than ground) they haven’t really been fine enough to coat and deep-fry the risotto cakes. I suppose they could be shallow-fried. Anyway, I spent more time on the crumbs today for a differing recipe I’ve been meaning to do for the past couple of years. Very simple but delicious cheese sausages. And those crumbs, being finer, were perfect for deep-frying. Partly as they only take seconds to cook. Didn’t taste greasy at all :) Hopefully all will be explained next post!

  6. Looks wonderful Johnny. I am a huge fan of any crispy cheesy rice ball so this sounds like a perfect addition to our change-of-season menu. Love it

    • Even though I don’t eat a lot of rice I do like this sort of thing. In Malta they serve tennis sized rice snacks that I had to have the occasional time whist there. For the life of me I no longer remember its name, nor ingredients. Really should Google some time.

  7. Love this veggie-version too Johnny! I haven’t made risotto in a while, but when I do, it will need to be a big batch to have enough to make some of these the next day!

    • Oddly, for me, I can’t get enough of them. Cooking another risotto tonight, this time leeks and mushroom. Which should be good as risotto cakes tomorrow. That is, if I remember to pan-fry the leeks – must get sorted!

    • Thanks for your comment. Can’t take any credit for these, as I’m sure most countries have their versions. I’m really into the idea of finger/party food right now. And hearty vegetarian recipes, even though I’m not vegetarian.

  8. ciao! yum,,,just what i want to eat now. this recipe reminds me of arancini, but to a more delicious level. you are always inspiring me to stay home and cook :)

    • I’ve never had arancini, and I bet I would love ‘em. These are probably a little bit plainer: and healthier, but only in as much as I bake them instead of deep-frying. My favourite, I have to admit, are the chicken, bacon and leek risotto cakes. Far tastier than their vegetarian equivalent.

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