During the early days when I felt frustrated about all the things I could no longer eat, my wonderful husband re-discovered Risotto, made using Arborio rice. He had once made Risotto for me with a special birthday dinner. We had all loved it, but for some reason it had not become a regular in our home until I found myself needing to be Gluten Free.

Ah, what a culinary delight – Risotto.

It is best made from scratch and eaten immediately or it can become, well, like glue. Done right, it is fabulous!

We started with a recipe from Robert Irvine’s book Mission: Cook! The first time we made it we used his Lobster Risotto with Clams recipe as a guide (found on page 252-253). Since then, we follow the same basic technique but alter what goes in it based on what is on hand,

Risotto is made using Arborio rice… no other “rice” will do, and it is made in a large skillet cooked slowly over medium to high heat. Separately, the stock is kept “just below boiling” in a pot.

Stock ~ 2 1/2 Cups (The stock can simply be purchased Gluten Free chicken or vegetable stock, or you can use your own.)

Basic ingredients (serves 4):

Arborio Rice (1C)
Chopped Onion (1 small) or shallots
2 Tbsp Oil (we use Grapeseed Oil, but Olive Oil will do)
1/4 – 1/2 C Wine (any white wine to your taste will do, we prefer Beringer White Zinfandel)
2 oz Heavy Cream or Whole Milk
3 Tbsp Freshly grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp Butter

Robert Irvine’s method states that you heat the oil in the skillet and sauté the onions in the oil until soft. Stir in the rice until it becomes translucent, then pour in the wine to deglaze the pan. His method goes on to say, “When most of the liquid has evaporated from the rice pan, add one ladle of stock at a time to the risotto from the simmering pot of stock… the method is to let the risotto absorb the stock gradually before you add the next ladle full to it. Once all the stock has been added and absorbed (after 15-25 minutes), add the heavy cream.”
Note, you must stir regularly while adding the stock. When done, remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter; then salt and pepper to taste.

To these basic ingredients, we like to add the following (depending on what is on hand):

Added with the very first ladle of stock :
Chopped Dates, Prunes, OR Dried Cherries (these add another layer of complexity to the dish)
Sun-dried Tomatoes

With the last ladle of stock, we add:
Asparagus (parboil them ahead of time, but add them at the end… save the tips for garnish)
Quartered and Marinated Artichoke Hearts (further cut in half)
Mushrooms (either fresh or canned)
Pine Nuts

Serve immediately! Once plated, you can top with shavings of fresh Parmesan and asparagus tips.

This recipe lends itself to culinary experimentation.
There is little that you could add that would mess it up.
Cooking should be fun and cooking Gluten Free is no exception.