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Making Risotto Wait

What's for Dinner? | SECOND HELPINGS

February 24, 1999|MAYI BRADY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It's been said that risotto waits for no man--meaning you'd better eat it the moment it finishes cooking or you'll be left with nothing to eat but gummy rice.

On the other hand, risotto can make great leftovers--especially if you're in the mood for risotto cakes.

You have to start with a relatively plain risotto, in this case simply made with herbs. From there you can go virtually anywhere.

You can top the cakes with just some shaved Parmesan cheese or you can add grilled and lightly marinated vegetables or maybe a meat ragout. These sauteed mushrooms work well. Lately, I've been using portabellini, also known as baby portabellos. Like their big brothers, portabellini give a meaty sense to the dish without turning the mushroom mixture black because they have much smaller gills than full-size portabellos.

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Risotto Cakes With Sauteed Mushrooms

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 40 minutes Vegetarian

RISOTTO CAKES

2 cups leftover risotto

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

* Combine risotto and egg.

* Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat in large (about 12-inch) skillet. Drop risotto, 1/4 cup at a time, into skillet to form 4 mounds. Flatten each mound with spatula to form 1/2-inch-thick cakes. Fry until golden brown and crisp, about 4 minutes per side.

* Place cooked risotto cakes in warm oven. Repeat with remaining butter, oil and risotto.

MUSHROOM SAUTE

1/2 pound mushrooms of choice

1 shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup white wine

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup vegetable broth

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Salt, pepper

2 teaspoons lemon juice

* Clean and slice mushrooms. Set aside.

* Cook shallot and garlic in butter over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until wine has almost evaporated, 3 to 4 more minutes. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add vegetable broth and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, salt and pepper to taste and lemon juice. Serve over Risotto Cakes.

4 servings. Each serving: 364 calories; 443 mg sodium; 84 mg cholesterol; 20 grams fat; 35 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 0.49 gram fiber.

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