Saturday, October 20, 2012

Gluten-Free Risotto ~

~ Delicious gluten-free cherry tomato & zucchini Risotto ~
I love Risotto, like a lot! Whenever I've spent time in Italy this dish, in its many varieties, has always been my 'safe' and staple meal that's always gluten-free and delicious. I mean if you can't eat amazing  risotto in Italia, then where on earth can you eat it, right?!

As summer's end slowly transitioned into a gorgeous fall out here in the west, the crisp and cooler mornings give way to warm, auburn-lit afternoons, that in turn melt into cool nights. This barometric transition seems to have a distinct effect on my taste buds causing them to long for warmer dishes, giving salads a deserved respite. So when my mom passed along this simple and colorful risotto recipe loaded with the colors of fall, I was very happy to oblige and bust out the saucepans and olive oil.

The beauty of this risotto is in the simplicity of ingredients and the fact that it's not ladened with creams or butter...okay, it only calls for 1tbsp of butter, but it's optional. The other treat that comes from cooking this dish is that it also calls for a 1/4 of white wine (not optionl!), which means that since you are required to open the bottle for cooking sake, it's almost a sin not to pour yourself a glass while actually cooking - are you following me here?...and who doesn't enjoy cooking and drinking, I mean really.

Now that there are some decent and semi-tasty gluten-free breads on the market, it's easy to accompany this dish with a simple yet perfect, bruschetta. Easy to make and just the right amount of crunch and flavor to accompany this heartier dish.

Cherry Tomato & Zucchini Gluten-Free Risotto ~

Makes about 7 cups:

In a saucepan heat and keep warm 4 3/4 cups gluten-free, low sodium (organic) chicken broth.
In another larger saucepan heat 1 tbsp of good Italian or Portuguese olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 small minced shallot, 1 1/2 cups arborio rice and 1/4 cup white wine and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup warm broth; cook, stirring, until almost all liquid has been absorbed. Repeat until all broth has been added. With the last addition of broth stir in 10 oz of halved cherry tomatoes; cook, stirring, until thick and creamy, about 6-8 min. Stir in 1 tbsp butter (optional), 1/2 tsp sea salt and 2/3 cup of shredded fresh Parmigiano Regianno; serve immediately.

Gluten-Free Bruschetta ~ 

Bruschetta is made up of very simple flavors, and is, therefore, best if you make it with the highest quality and freshest ingredients you can find, but that's always the case when cooking! 

- 2 lbs. fresh tomatoes (roma, heirloom, beefsteak...whatever is in season is best) 
- 1/2 fresh onion
- 4 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- Gluten-free bread (I recommend Udi's whole grain or Rudi's...or if you're fortunate enough to live in the vicinity of Sun Valley/Ketchum, I'd stop by Cristina's for the BEST gluten-free focaccia you've ever eaten! P.S...she ships!)

Using a sharp knife, dice the tomatoes as small as you can. I try to aim for 1/4" cubes and try to mush or break the tomatoes as little as possible. *If you're opposed to using raw onions, you can also lightly sauté the chopped onion in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper - that's what I do. It adds a sweeter deeper flavor to the bruschetta, and is an excellent variation to this recipe. Next, chop the fresh garlic and add it onto the growing pile of deliciousness. Add in some fresh basil to taste.  I used 3-4 large leaves, but there's no "right" amount. Add in the (good) extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper and mix the ingredients thoroughly.  

*If you've got the time, let the mixture setup for 30 minutes in the refrigerator, if you don't it's also delicious when eaten immediately. It's best to time it around the risotto and prepare ahead. 

Depending upon what type of GF bread you've chosen, determines what size you slice the pieces...if it's Udi's or Rudi's, I suggest 'halving' the slices. A proper bruschetta would use real hot coals to toast the bread, but it's perfectly understandable if don't have access to a slow burning fire moments before serving dinner - you need to be in Italy for that! Toast the bread in a toaster, or under the broiler if you've got a big batch. Once the bread is good and toasted, remove it from the oven and use a pastry brush to paint each slice of bread with olive oil. Finally, pile as much of the bruschetta as possible onto the freshly toasted bread, serve, and enjoy!

Buon Appetito!!

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