This recipe is adapted from
“The Kitchen Diaries” (Nigel Slater)
I am a Nigel fangirl, it has to be said. His books contain culinary wisdom and common sense in equal parts, he’s not at all cheffy, he’s rapturous about the crunchy, caramelized bits you get when you’re frying and roasting and there’s a deliciously bitchy undertone in his writing. What’s not to love?
I especially like his joyful use of leftovers. For me, that’s real cooking – being able to stand in front of a practically empty fridge, cast an eye over the chilly depths, and create magic in a pan from what you found. Now that’s a feeling for food. I’m still very much learning this particular skill, but Nige was kind enough to share one of his leftovers tips in his latest book.
If you have some folorn-looking leftover risotto, all you need to do is grab a pan, some fresh herbs and some melty cheese. I used taleggio which is easy to find here in Italy, but you could use any cheese that oozes easily, take your pick. Even some soft blue cheese would be great here.
Chop up a handful of soft herbs – I think parsley’s ideal – and stir into the risotto. Cut the cheese into chunky little cubes about 1.5 cm across. The idea is to encase the cheese inside balls of rice, which you then flatten slightly and fry in a little oil until golden on each side and bursting with the melted cheese.
Take a tablespoon-size scoop of rice into the palm of one hand, flatten and press the cheese into the centre, and then press another smaller scoop of rice on top, so that you create a nice ball of rice covering the cheese in the centre. Continue making balls like this until you use up all the rice. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a big frying pan, and cook the rice balls, flattening a little, on each side until golden, 4 or 5 minutes on each side – the cheese may start to escape too.
I snarfled three of these for lunch on my own on Saturday (very quickly, hence no photo), so that should be a good guide for how many your rice will feed. They’d be nice with a peppery salad of rocket and watercress.