From Too Many Chefs -

September 8, 2004
Risotto Torte

There is an actual recipe attached to this picture, but what I really want to highlight is the technique used to change a gooey bowl of rice and stuff into a fluffy cake.

The recipe this is based on is Christine Ingram's from the book vegetarian and vegetable cooking, a picture-filled recipe book that only set me back $5 at Barnes and Noble from the overstock/remainder shelf. Sometimes you can find some real gems on the "buy me cheap!" counter.

I've fixed an omission in the original (when to drop the broccoli in), and changed the ingredients to suit my tastes. You can use the basic technique with any risotto you make. I encourage you to try it yourself.

Broccoli Risotto Torte

8 oz. broccoli chopped small but not fine
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (or a mix of the two)
salt and pepper to taste

If using fresh broccoli, blanch it for 3 minutes, drain and reserve. If using frozen, microwave or otherwise thaw the broccoli. Drain and reserve.

In a large saucepan, heat the butter and oil untl the butter starts to foam. Sautee the onions, garlic, and bell pepper in the oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste, remembering Parmesan is pretty salty.

Add the dry rice to the pot. Stir to mix and to let the rice absorb any remaining liquid or fat. Cook for a minute to slightly fry the dry rice. Add the wine/vermouth and cook until all the liquid is absorbed.

Add a 1/2 cup of stock. Stir over medium heat until all liquid is absorbed. Repeat until all liquid is used, about 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese and broccoli. Stir well to mix cheese, distribute the broccoli, and to release heat from the risotto. Season to taste.

Up to this point, you can make any risotto you want. The following steps are what turns it into a fluffy torte.

Grease a deep 10" cake pan or springform pan. The original instructions called for a round of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, but I found this more a hindrance than a help. If you don't use the parchment, make sure you grease the bottom of the pan well, even if using a non-stick pan. I use an olive oil pump aerosol sprayer.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

After letting the risotto rest 5 minutes, stir the egg yolks into the risotto swiftly to make sure they mix before being cooked by the residual heat of the rice.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold into the rice as if making a chocolate mousse or chiffon cake. This is weird, but the results are great.

Bake for 1 hour at 350 F. Let cool in the pan at least ten minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the risotto cake and release from the pan. If using a cake pan, you may want to let the cake cool more.

The original recipe was lighter on the cheese and garlic. That's clearly just wrong. I'm looking forward to trying this with a mushroom risotto or a mixed vegetable risotto with eggplant and tomatoes that my wife makes.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at September 8, 2004 6:43 AM | TrackBack

Forget the savories; this clearly needs to be turned into a dessert dish. I'm picturing something like a rice pudding risotto torte, with some sugar (or Splenda for the diabetic Chefs) and vanilla and almond and cream cheese, and some nice fresh summer berries.

Posted by Sweth on September 8, 2004 at 8:05 AM

By Jove, Watson, I think you're on to something there. I may just have to try something like that this weekend.

Posted by barrett on September 8, 2004 at 8:48 AM

You know I started reading this recipe thinking "why would this be better than just eating the risotto" but by the end you convinced me - it sounds very good. Did you have any problems folding in the egg whites without losing all the fluffiness? I remember that was a bit difficult when we made the pasta soufflé at your place last summer...

Posted by Meg in Paris on September 8, 2004 at 11:29 AM

The folding was interesting, since the rice was many, many times more dense than the egg whites, but it worked out. I had to be careful not to deflate the whites, too much, but I think it worked out.

You would of course prefer this to plain risotto because it's more portable and therefore, a FOOD of TOMORROW!!!!

Or maybe just because you like golden, brown, and delicious crusts with your risotto...

Posted by barrett on September 8, 2004 at 11:42 AM

It also sounds a lot less stodgy than classic risotto, which is a real plus!

Posted by Meg in Paris on September 11, 2004 at 2:11 AM