I’ll be the first to admit that some veggie burgers can stretch the limits of category—as in, you’re calling that a veggie burger? Latkes and fritters: sure, you can call them veggie burgers. Same thing with some big vegetable dumplings. Rice cakes? I’ll hear you state your case. One might nitpick, but to me, this means only that the veggie burger is a big, wide, accepting category of food. That said, this “burger” might be one that crosses the line.
Simply reheated, leftover risotto isn’t very good the next day. But Arancini di Rosi—which are fried little balls of leftover risotto wrapped around a square of cheese—is a scrumptious way to repurpose day-old risotto. In that vein, I include a recipe for big risotto cakes or patties, made from leftover risotto, in my new book. With that recipe, I suggest using them as a base—for sautéed greens, tomato sauce, fried or poached eggs, as a way to bulk up a salad . . . whatever you like. Here, I’m giving the risotto cakes the opportunity to shine as veggie burgers.
Risotto wedged between bread may seem to be a bit starch heavy, especially if your risotto is light on the veggies. Remedy that with toppings. In the ones I made, I put sautéed spinach on top, along with some whole-grain mustard on the bread. But going in the opposite direction, with caramelized onions and mushrooms and a melted slice of fontina cheese, you’d be hard pressed to find a more decadent use of leftovers.
Walnut-Crusted Risotto “Burgers”
Makes 3 or 4
1/4 finely chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 cup panko or coarse bread crumbs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, well- beaten
About 2 cups leftover risotto
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Grease a baking sheet or an oven-safe skillet.
2. Combine the panko and the walnuts in one shallow, wide bowl or plate. Put the flour on another similar bowl or plate and stir in a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Pour the beaten egg into a third shallow bowl or plate. Arrange these three plate/bowls on a work surface.
3. Shape a handful of the cold risotto into a patty—you can use a third to a half cup. Dredge it in the flour, then dip it in the egg, and finally cover it in the walnut-panko mixture. Transfer to the baking sheet and do the same for the remaining risotto.
4. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, flipping after 12 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.