Risotto cakes with courgette fries

Stephen Terry serves courgette risotto cakes with crisp courgette fries and a sprinkling of caerphilly cheese
By Stephen Terry
Risotto cakes with courgette fries
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus refrigeration overnight
  • Effort: easy


  • 5 courgettes
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 150 g Carnaroli risotto rice
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 50 g butter, cubed
  • 100 g caerphilly cheese
  • 5 tbsp plain flour, for dusting
  • 250 ml full-fat milk
  • sunflower or groundnut oil, for deep-frying

To serve

  • small handful of pea shoots
  • drizzle olive oil
  • drizzle lemon juice


1. Prepare the courgettes. Coarsely grate 1 courgette completely, including the seeds, and keep for the risotto. Slice the remaining 4 courgettes for the courgette fries lengthways with a mandolin using the 'shredding' blade or a very sharp knife. Take 2 long slices (no more than 3mm thick) from each side of the courgette, leaving a block of seeds in the middle and grate this block. Reserve for adding to the risotto. Wrap the courgette strips in cling film and chill.

2. Heat a large, deep, wide saute pan with a little olive oil, add the onion and cook until softened, but not browned. Add the rice and fry for a couple of minutes until opaque in colour. Gradually add the hot chicken stock, ladle by ladle until each spoonful is absorbed.

4. You dont want the risotto to be traditionally wet, so keep stirring until the rice has absorbed all of the stock but is still moist, about 20-25 minutes. Bite a grain of rice in half and make sure the centre isnt white. Add the grated courgette (along with the grated seeds from the finely sliced courgettes) and the parsley and cook for a further 2 minutes.

5. Add the butter and 50g of the cheese, along with salt and pepper, to taste.

6. Line a baking tin with cling film, so that it overlaps the edges. Pour the risotto mix into the tray and spread evenly. If there is too much mixture, make an aluminium foil 'dam' at the edges to stop the risotto from spilling. Leave on a rack to cool for an hour and then cover with cling film.

7. Transfer the tray of risotto to the fridge and leave for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

8. When you are ready to cook the risotto cakes, preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 3. Remove the tray from the fridge, turn the risotto onto a board and chop into 4 individual oblong portions.

9. Slice the set-aside strips of courgette into matchsticks. Place the flour in a lidded container and the milk in a bowl. Dust the risotto cakes all over with the flour. Heat a dash of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry each cake until browned on both sides you may need to do this in batches. Place the cakes in an ovenproof dish and bake in the oven for 5 minutes.

10. Meanwhile, cook the courgette fries. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180C according to manufacturers instructions take care not to leave the oil unattended.

11. Dip each courgette slice into the bowl of milk. Shake off any excess and drop in flour to coat. Shake them in the lidded container so they are well coated, then tip into a large sieve to release any excess flour. Deep-fry the courgette matchsticks in batches for 2 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Carefully tip the courgettes onto a plate lined with kitchen paper and sprinkle with crushed salt.

12. To serve, share the risotto cakes among 4 plate, top with the courgette fries and grate over the remaining cheese. Garnish with the pea shoots and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice.

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