Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Asparagus Benedict Risotto Cakes

Leftover Risotto? Probably not. You may have to make risotto with this recipe in mind. However, I always try to make a little extra thinking about the possibility of a delicious meal the next day. This is a great spring version taking advantage of the beautiful, locally grown asparagus that's available this time of year. Mushroom risotto would be equally delicious, or pea, or artichoke—be creative—I really can't think of a bad choice!

This can be served as is for a lovely breakfast, or add baby mixed greens under the risotto cake for brunch or a light dinner.

8 Asparagus Risotto Cakes (from leftover Spring Asparagus Risotto*)

Reserved Blanched Asparagus Tips for garnish

1 cup Hollandaise-like Dressing

8 Poached Eggs

Shaved Fresh Parmesan

Crispy Pancetta

Traditional risotto* made with sauteed asparagus stems, white wine, broth, and finished with butter and parmesan cheese.

Reserved Asparagus Tips

When making risotto, remove asparagus tips and blanche in broth. Drain and set aside, or refrigerate, until ready to garnish.


8 serving sized pieces of pancetta, diced. Saute until crispy, drain to remove excess oil.

Asparagus Risotto Cakes

Traditional risotto made with sauteed asparagus stems, white wine, broth, and finished with butter and parmesan cheese. Refrigerate for several hours, or overnight. Form into patties (about 1/3 cup each) and saute on both sides in butter, just until outside is browned and inside is warmed through. (When you put patties into hot butter, don't disturb them until they move on their own to get a nicely browned crust.)

Hollandaise-like Warm Dressing

4 egg yolks

1 T lemon juice

One-half cup olive oil

1 tsp. Dried Herbs de Provence

salt and pepper

In a double boiler, bring water to a gentle boil, add egg yolks and lemon juice to top pan. Whisk over hot water until yolks turn a paler yellow and become creamy(three or four minutes). Remove from heat, and whisk in oil. Add herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour into an insulated thermos-like coffee cup with lid, and close to keep warm until eggs and risotto cakes are ready (or, you can pour warm dressing into a cup and sit cup in a pan of very warm water).

Poached Eggs

Fill deep pan with one inch of water. Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar and bring to a gentle boil. Slip 4 eggs into gently boiling water. Reduce heat to simmer. Poach about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove eggs to ovenproof warmed dish greased with melted butter, and cover. Set aside while poaching remaining eggs. When all eggs are poached, add to buttered warm dish and cover until ready to serve.

Place warm risotto cake on serving plate. Top with warm poached egg. Add asparagus tips, and then dressing Finally, garnish with pancetta and shaved parmesan cheese.


2 cups Arborio rice

4 T olive oil

4 T butter

1 large sweet onion, chopped

1 cup dry white wine

About 6 cups chicken broth

16 asparagus spears (tips removed for garnish)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup parmesan cheese

2 T butter

Sauté onion in oil and butter in large pot over medium heat.

Cut tips from asparagus and boil until ‘al dente’ in lightly salted water, about 5 minutes. Reserve tips.

Dice asparagus stems and add to onion. Cook until tender.

In separate medium sized sauce pot heat chicken broth just to a simmer.

Add rice to butter, oil, sautéed onions and asparagus stems and stir until rice is well coated with oil, about 2 minutes.

Add wine to rice and stir to combine. Let simmer until most of the wine is absorbed. Begin adding warm broth one cup at a time, stirring occasionally. Continue to add one cup of broth at a time, stirring and letting the broth be absorbed before adding the next cup of broth. Enough liquid has been added when rice has a tiny firmness in center of grain, but most of grain has softened. This takes about 18 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When rice is done, remove from heat. Stir cheese and 2 tablespoons butter into rice. Cover and let rest for maybe five minutes. Serve garnished with asparagus tips and extra shaved parmesan cheese.

(8 servings)


  1. Ah, you gave away the best secret! People think you make risotto for them. No way. You make it for yourself--for cakes the next day. (Same with paella, might I add.)

  2. Mark, you are so right! Now I'm looking forward to trying the paella tip! I 'inherited' an old iron fish frying pan that I use for paella over a wood fire outside. The resulting cakes should be perfect.
    Thank you for the tip, and for paying me a visit!

  3. Yum!!! Making this for mother's day brunch.

  4. You won't be disappointed! Enjoy, and Happy Mother's Day!