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.


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