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How To Make Grit, Polenta or Risotto Cakes

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Pan fried Risotto Cakes
Burwell and Burwell Photography/E+/Getty Images
Do you often find yourselves with leftover grits, polenta or risotto? A great use is to form them into cakes, which you can later pan fry and serve with sauteed vegetables, ratatouille, stews or simply on their own with a generous sprinkling of salt or cheese. Or try serving them in a recipe like Sauteed Chard, Green Beans and Shrimp over Grit Cakes.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 20 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Line a sheet pan with plastic wrap, spray with nonstick cooking spray, and spread warm grits, polenta or risotto onto the pan in an even layer, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Allow to cool completely.
  2. Using a round cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or glass jar, cut out rounds from the cooled grits, polenta or risotto, making cut-outs as close to each other as possible to maximize space. Gather up the excess grits or risotto and pat flat again to cut out more rounds, as you would with cookie dough.
  3. Wrap each round individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days or freezer for up to 3 months.
  4. To pan-fry rounds, thaw cakes if they were frozen. In a nonstick pan, add enough canola or vegetable oil to coat bottom completely. Add a pat of butter for flavor, tilting pan to melt butter and distribute it evenly on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Dust cakes lightly with flour. When butter is melted and foaming, place cakes in the pan (they should sizzle a little when they touch the pan) and cook over medium-high heat until underside is browned and crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully flip cakes over and cook the other side until browned, another 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve hot.

What You Need

  • Leftover risotto, polenta or grits
  • Plastic wrap
  • Sheet pan
  • Round cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or glass jar; the size is up to you
  • Large nonstick pan
  • Spatula
  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Salt and Pepper

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