Pesto Risotto Cakes

I love to make risotto.  I usually have all of the ingredients on hand- olive oil, an onion, rice, and chicken broth.  You can add more ingredients if you want, and I love adding pesto to my risotto, stirred in right at the end.  You can find that recipe here.
The big problem with risotto though, is leftovers.  It's a delicious meal because of the chewy texture of the rice, but after sitting in the fridge overnight, the rice softens and isn't as delicious.  Italians have a wonderful solution to this- arancini.  Leftover risotto is formed into a ball, rolled in breadcrumbs, and fried, usually with cheese stuffed into the middle.  The cheese gets melty, and the soft rice interior contrasts with the crisp fried exterior.  I wanted to make something similar, minus a pot of hot oil for frying, and somewhat suitable as a breakfast.
I made and photographed this almost a year ago at this point, but don't worry, I remember everything.  I wanted something warm and hearty for dinner on Friday, and then the snow started falling that weekend in DC.  I was holed up studying, and while most people were out playing in the blizzard, I was reading textbooks.  The leftover risotto from the night before became my delicious breakfast.  I carefully formed the risotto by hand into little hockey pucks and let them sizzle in the pan.  I poached an egg while those were cooking, to make it a little more breakfast-y.  Flipping these guys is tricky, but if you're good at flipping pancakes, you'll do just fine.  A sure hand is best, but you can always just stick them back together if they fall apart (the way I handled it!).

I sprinkled some parmesan on top of the risotto cakes, and placed the poached egg on top.  Altogether, a hearty and delicious meal, but very quick and easy, since the risotto has already been made.  My only regret was that I didn't make three poached eggs; one for every risotto cake!
I enjoyed my break from studying, and watched the snow fall as I ate.  That evening, when the snow had finally stopped and I was totally spent from studying, I ventured down my snow-covered street.  There was only one other person out, walking his dog, and for a usually busy road, it was kind of amazing.  The snow muffled everything.  After deliberately climbing through some snow drifts, and getting quite cold, I wandered back home and headed to bed.
Risotto Cakes Recipe:
The serving size will depend on how much leftover risotto you have, this was about 1 cup of leftover risotto that formed 3 cakes.

Leftover risotto, pesto risotto recipe found here
Olive oil
Poached egg(s)
Parmesan, to garnish

Heat a medium pan over medium heat with about 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Form leftover risotto into patties, about 1/4-1/3 cup sized.  I use my hands, and it's easier for the risotto to stick together if it's warm, but you can coax it together cold too.  If making poached eggs, start the water heating, but if you'd rather have eggs of a different style, heat your pan.  Prepare your eggs to your liking while doing the next part.

Lay the patties in the heated pan, and don't disturb them until the bottom edges are turning brown, about 3-4 minutes.  Carefully flip them and don't disturb again for 3-4 minutes until the bottom edge is turning brown again.  You want the cakes to be warmed through, so if they are browning too fast, turn down the heat a bit.  When ready, serve with a sprinkle of parmesan on top, and a poached egg.


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