Sunday Dinner: Risotto Cakes with Fontina and Chives

Risotto Cakes (Photograph by Adrian)
Risotto Cakes (Photograph by Adrian)

I’ve been growing my first herb garden this year and lately it’s really begun to grow in earnest, so I was excited to catch Barefoot Contessa doing a show on herbs. The risotto cakes looked (and sounded) fabulous – I mean, creamy risotto breaded and fried? Yes, please! However, in her recipe, she just boils arborio rice in water and then drains and rinses it. I’m sure that the fontina and chives add flavor, but it seemed questionably tasty to me, so I figured I’d give it a go, but with a little more flavor in the rice part.


  • 3-3½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3-4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1½ cups (5 oz.) grated Fontina cheese
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumb)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil


  • Heat the chicken broth to a simmer and keep it simmering.
  • Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and toast the rice in it for 30 seconds.
  • Add the chicken broth a ½ cup at a time, letting most of the liquid absorb between rounds.
  • The rice is done when it is creamy but still has just the tiniest bit of bite to it. You may or may not use up all of the chicken broth; you can use water at the very end if you run out of broth.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese.
  • Spread the cooked risotto on a plate or baking sheet and let cool until no longer warm to the touch.
  • Once the rice is cool, prepare the next part of the mixture. In a bowl, beat 2 eggs and add in the yogurt, cheese, chives, a large pinch of kosher salt, and about a ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Mix well.
  • Mix in the rice and stir well.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight until the mixture is firmed up.
  • Put the panko in a wide shallow bowl or plate. Form patties of the rice mixture and coat in panko.
  • Heat a layer of olive oil in a pan until it is rippling and just starting to smoke. Fry the coated cakes until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Drain on a paper towel and serve hot. If you have to fry in batches, put them in a 200°F oven to keep warm until serving.
  • Should make 12 cakes, enough for 4-6 servings. We added thin strips of pancetta on top for an extra flavor dimension. Goes well with a spinach/arugula-type salad (perhaps with strawberries and a balsamic glaze) and a crisp white wine.

Note: This recipe was surely originally meant to use up leftover risotto, so by all means, if you have leftover risotto, do it up.

Second note: Clearly I love me some risotto.

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