Monday, March 15, 2010

Basic Risotto

OK, here's a gluten free (but NOT grain free) recipe that is truly a classic. There are a lot of risotto recipes out there, but here is the basic one that I use. You can modify it to suit yourself with various additions or substitutions....I've listed a few possibilities below to get you started.


Extra-virgin olive oil
butter (leave out for casein free)
1 large diced onion
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely minced
3-4 C chicken broth
1 C white wine
1 1/2 C arborio rice (you must use arborio rice!)
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional - leave out for casein free)

a few optional additions/substitutions:
sliced mushrooms
green onions or shallots instead of regular onion
vegetable broth instead of chicken
cooked or uncooked shrimp, cleaned and deveined
use your imagination!


Saute the diced onion in the olive oil and butter until soft. Warm the broth in a separate, nearby pan, but don't let it boil. Add the garlic and the rice to the onion and saute over medium heat for a couple of minutes longer, but don't brown the rice! If you're going to use mushrooms or other veggies, add them with the garlic and the rice. Lower the heat to a medium low setting, and pour in the cup of wine, stirring constantly as the rice and vegetables simmer. When the wine is mostly absorbed, add a ladle full of warm broth, and again, stir as the rice simmers until it is nearly absorbed, then repeat. You'll have to experiment a little to find the right heat level for cooking risotto; the entire simmering and stirring process should take about 30 - 40 minutes, if done correctly.

The risotto is done when the rice is tender all the way through (no crunch in the middle); at that point you could add uncooked shrimp and continue cooking for about 3 more minutes until the shrimp is pink and thoroughly cooked (don't over cook shrimp or it will be rubbery). Cooked shrimp may be added at the very end, just before serving (all you want to do is heat the previously cooked shrimp through). Add a handful or two of Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.

Risotto demands your attention for the entire 30-40 minutes, but is definitely worth it! Good risotto has a delicate, creamy texture that can't be faked, a direct result of the slow cooking process and your stirring efforts.

For casein-free you can leave out the butter and parmesan cheese.


Grain Light Chicken Pot Pie

Note: this is from a post on my other blog.

I've been feeling slightly depressed lately, just a little down....maybe the rainy gray days have been getting to me? Anyway, I've been in the mood for something in the way of "comfort food".

Hubby went shopping recently and, among other things, brought home a package of cooked chicken from Costco. This is chicken meat that comes from their roasted chickens, de-boned and ready to use in sandwiches, casseroles, whatever.

Coincidentally, a friend of mine mentioned in email a couple of days ago that she was planning to make her "gluten-free chicken pot pie".....yum!! So I asked for the recipe.

Well, she hasn't sent it to me yet, but I was REALLY hungry for chicken pot pie, so I decided to make up my own recipe. I was motivated by (a) wanting comfort food, and (b) needing to use up the cooked chicken from Costco. This recipe is not entirely grain free, but is definitely "grain light" compared to other versions of chicken pot pie:


extra virgin olive oil
Lawry's Seasoned Pepper
1 large onion, diced
2 medium russet potatoes, diced
1 1/2 C sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 C frozen peas and carrots
2 1/2 C diced cooked chicken
2 T sweet rice flour
2 - 3 T cornstarch
1 - 2 C milk (dairy, almond, soy, rice, whatever)
1 - 2 C gluten free chicken broth
Herbes de Provence

1 - 1 1/2 batches of Grain Free Biscuit Dough


Put 1-2 T of olive oil in a medium skillet, along with an equal amount of butter, and heat until bubbly. Saute the diced onion in the olive oil/butter mixture over medium heat until soft; add another 2 T butter and allow to melt, and then the sweet rice flour to make a thick paste. Pour in the milk very slowly, while will want to add just the right amount to make the consistency resemble condensed soup mix, so it will be very thick. Season to taste with salt and Lawry's Seasoned Pepper and set aside.

Wash and dice the potatoes (you don't have to peel them unless you want to...I didn't). Place in a medium saucepan and add chicken broth just until the potatoes are completely covered. Heat broth until simmering; allow potatoes to simmer until cooked through but still firm. Mix cornstarch into a very small amount of cold broth or water and add to the saucepan. Stir well until thickened; you will want this mixture to be quite thick as it will thin out when the frozen peas and carrots are added.

Add the sliced mushrooms, the peas and carrots, and the chicken, then stir in the onion/milk mixture. Check seasonings; add more salt or pepper, if needed, then add approximately 1 tsp of the Herbes de Provence, adjusting seasonings to your own taste. If you don't have Herbes de Provence handy, you may use 1/4 tsp each dried sage, rosemary, parsley, and thyme.

Pour the mixture into a 7" x 11" Pyrex baking dish; form the grain free biscuit dough into 6 or 8 individual "patties" with your hands and layer over the top of the chicken mixture. NOTE: I used only 1 batch of the biscuit dough but may try 1 1/2 batches the next time. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, or until the chicken mixture is bubbly around the edges and the biscuit topping is firm and turning golden brown.

Hubby had two helpings, while I was satisfied with one (it's very filling!).....and yes, it was DEFINITELY very comforting! :)