Lekker Brekker Monday: How to turn leftover risotto into breakfast

Lekker Brekker Monday: How to turn leftover risotto into breakfast
From risotto to frittata: Tony Jackman’s frittata made with leftover risotto. May 2024. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Cooked risotto, regardless of whatever other ingredients you have cooked into it, can be turned into an Italian omelette for breakfast the next morning.

Glaring at the leftover risotto in a bakkie in the fridge the other day, I thought: what am I going to do with you? I’d done arancini, not long ago. So I glanced up, and my eye fell upon the egg basket on top of the fridge. You know, up there where you keep the Cremora, as per the Eighties TV commercial? And whenever I look up there (at the eggs, not the Cremora), my mind goes straight to breakfast.

A risotto dish is so filling that there is often some left over. I cook risotto many ways with bacon and tomato, butternut, green beans and peas and other ways too and there is always just too much. Or you can just cook too much on purpose, with breakfast in mind.

The most famous way of using leftover risotto is to make arancini, which are risotto balls, coated in crumbs and fried or baked. Or you can turn the leftovers into risotto patties, much the same as arancini but flattened to be shaped like burger patties.

But, I thought, surely cooked risotto rice (chunkier and firmer than most other rice varieties) would work as the carrier, as it were, of an Italian-style omelette? So, as I often do, I committed the thought to Uncle Google, who responded with a slew of examples of exactly that. It was a thing: recipes existed for risotto frittata. That was all I needed to know.

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The risotto that happened to be left over was what I called Green Risotto when I published the recipe a fortnight ago. There was celery in it, and peas and blanched green beans, and it was topped with a spoonful of minty pea purée for an extra bit of veggie voomah. I made this frittata the next morning.

The egg basket was soon depleted. The Cremora disappeared from the top of the fridge the last time I made a Cremora Tart. Or maybe in the late Eighties.

There needs to be a reasonable quantity of risotto, so add or subtract an egg or two if the balance doesn’t seem quite right. It does depend on how much risotto you have, obviously.

I did not merely use the leftover risotto with beaten eggs and seasoning, which you could do. Instead, I sautéed onion with leeks, building it up from there.

A frittata can be cooked on the stovetop or in the oven, or both. For this one, I started on the hob, then transferred the pan to a preheated 200℃ oven for the top half to cook through. 

If you choose to cook it entirely on the hob, do so on a lowish heat to discourage the bottom from overcooking or burning. Cover the top with a lid to help the upper half of the omelette to cook through.

Tony’s Risotto frittata

(Serves 6, but can be adapted to feed more)


3 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

1 small onion, cut in half and then sliced thinly

2 large leeks, sliced thinly

3 Tbsp chopped parsley and more for garnish

Leftover cooked risotto

6 extra large eggs, beaten

Salt and black pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 200℃.

Slice the onions and leeks, heat the oil and butter, and sautée gently in a deep, heavy pan on the stove until softened. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped parsley, leaving a little for garnish.

Stir the risotto into the mixture. Beat the eggs and pour them in. Use a wooden spoon to push it around so that the egg distributes evenly.

Let it cook gently, uncovered, until you can see that it is cooked halfway through. Put a lid on and transfer it to the oven, It’s ready when you can see that the egg on top has set properly.

Serve in wedges, garnished with chopped parsley. A little salt and pepper on top is a good idea in this instance. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.


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