Fontina Risotto Cakes with Sautéed Spinach, Butternut Squash and Charred Tomato Sauce

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March 19, 2013

From Karl Elliott, executive chef, Sodexo at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL
At the Catersource session Fifteen Fabulous Dinner Entrees That Work for Caterers

Yields 6 portions


For the Risotto

Equipment Needed: 1 ea -  2-quart saucepan, wooden spoon, half-sheet pan for cooling
3 cups vegetable stock, more as needed
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup white onion, finely chopped
1-1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
6 Tbsp of Asiago cheese
2 Tbsp butter
3 oz grated Fontina cheese
3 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
2 Tbsp fresh chives
1 large egg
1-½ cups flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
4 eggs, whites only, beaten
1-½ cups Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

For Sautéed Spinach and Butternut Squash

Equipment needed: 1 large sauté pan
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp garlic
3 lbs savoy spinach stemmed, blanched, squeezed and chopped (should end up with 1.5 lbs finished product)
1 small butternut squash 1/2-inch diced, then roasted in a little olive oil, salt and pepper until tender
Salt and pepper

For Charred Tomato Vinaigrette

2 pints grape tomatoes
1-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced

Optional Garnish

18 fried basil leaves


For Risotto

1. Bring 3 cups broth to simmer in small saucepan. Reduce heat to very low; cover and keep warm.
2. Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.
3. Add onion; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine; stir until absorbed, about 30 seconds.
4. Add broth, 1/3 cup at a time, and simmer until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more, and stirring often.
5. Remove from heat. Mix Asiago and butter. Season generously with salt and pepper.
6. Spread risotto onto sheet pan and cool completely. Add Fontina cheese, parsley, chopped chives and 1 egg into risotto.
7. Shape into 1 1/4-inch balls; flatten to 2-inch rounds.
8. Place seasoned flour into a bowl.
9. Beat 4 egg whites in shallow bowl to blend.
10. Place panko in another shallow bowl.
11. Dip risotto cakes into flour, then beaten egg, then into panko to coat.
12. Pour enough canola oil into large skillet to coat bottom; heat oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sautée risotto cakes until crisp and brown, about 2 1/2 minutes per side.

For Spinach and Butternut Squash

1. Heat oil in large sauté pan. Add garlic and cook until aromatic.
2. Add butternut squash and spinach, then season with salt and pepper.

For Tomato Sauce

1. Heat a large sauté pan until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Oil should smoke a little.
2. Add tomatoes and sear until they char and blister.
3. Place half of the tomatoes into blender and reserve the other half.
4. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until lightly toasted. Add blended tomatoes and cook for 10 min. Add basil and reserved tomatoes.


Place 1/2 cup of spinach squash mixture in center of plate. Top with 2 risotto cakes. Drizzle with 3 Tbsp of tomato sauce around the dish. Garnish with fried basil.

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