Leftover risotto

It’s getting to be a little confusing when the dish you make with the leftovers turns out to be just as attractive as its parent of the day before. But I suppose that’s how the pie’n’sauce came to be. Whenever we cook risotto, we throw enough rice into a pot to feed fifteen people, and wonder why there is so much left over — occasionally, anyway.

So if you get tired of reheating the risotto, try these balls. The truth is, they hold together so well, the potential to mix and match the contents of the fridge is just about endless. You could even, for heaven’s sake, use some of those things we bring out when nobody is watching — you know, tinned tuna or tinned salmon.

1 onion, chopped finely

200g Provolone, or any tasty, flavoursome cheese, grated

3 cups cooked risotto — This will make about a dozen balls. Obviously, this applies equally to any leftover rice.

1 egg

1 chilli, chopped finely

1 clove garlic, chopped finely

zest of 1 lemon

handful of fresh herbs: basil, mint, chives, thyme, oregano – any or all of them, chopped roughly

a little flour

juice of 1 lemon


Cook the onions gently in a little olive oil until they soften. Set aside to cool.


Grate the cheese over the rice and add the egg. Work the mixture together with a fork until it has all come together. Add the chilli, garlic, lemon zest, onions and herbs, and mix together well.


Form into balls about as big as a golf ball, squeezing gently in the palm of your hand. Roll in flour and set aside.


Heat a small amount of oil in a pan or wok until a little flour sizzles when added. Cook the balls in batches until golden, turning as required. The cooking can be completed in the oven once the balls are brown on the outside — this way they are less likely to disintegrate. Allow to drain on paper towels, and then heat through in a 200°C oven until very hot — about 3 minutes.


Serve as an appetiser with a little lemon juice. That’s it.

WINE:  Get a really good Fino sherry. ‘Fino’ means fine. These wines are aperitifs — they make you hungry. Of the Spanish Fino, Tio Pepe is the best; Aussies are well represented by Seppelt D.P.I 17 and Mildara George.