Walnut Risotto Croquettes

Jamie West

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Ojai, CA

Jamie West served these croquettes as part of an elaborate dish that included pan-seared foie gras, blackberry compote, and ion fruit glaze. In Italy, children eat similar croquettes, known as arancini, as after-school snacks. These croquettes are best made from leftover risotto, so plan on eating the risotto one night and the croquettes the next. In our own kitchen, we served the croquettes on a bed of garlicky sautéed spinach, topped them with tomato sauce, and enjoyed a delicious dinner.


  • 3 to 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup wine
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • Additional olive or vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup)


Heat the stock until simmering in a 2-quart saucepan. In a separate saucepan with a heavy bottom, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion, and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the rice, stirring constantly until the grains are heated and coated with oil, approximately 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed. Add the stock to the rice, one cup at a time, stirring and cooking with each addition until the stock is absorbed. Continue until the rice is al dente, about 15 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and stir in the walnuts and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Let the risotto cool completely and chill.

Roll the chilled risotto into 1 1/2-inch balls. Bread them by rolling them first in the all-purpose flour, then dipping them in the beaten egg and rolling them in the bread crumbs. Be sure the surface is coated evenly, and use a large fork to help transfer the balls from dish to dish. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan (cast-iron works well), and fry the risotto croquettes until golden brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels.


Eight 2-inch croquettes