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Basic Cheese Risotto (Gluten-Free)
Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
Celiac.com 11/02/2012 - Risotto is a classic Italian rice dish, traditionally prepared with a starchy, short-grained rice called arborio rice. I came to love risotto, because it's one of the reliable gluten-free dishes you can find almost everywhere in Italy.
With a few simple ingredients and about thirty minutes in the kitchen, the result will surprise and delight even the most picky eaters, and will make for a nice twist on the familiar macaroni and cheese.
The procedure for making risotto involves stirring hot stock into the uncooked rice a ladleful at a time and cooking slowly as the stock is absorbed.
This method of cooking the rice is, in fact, called the risotto method, and releases the starches in the rice to create a rich, creamy, risotto that is sure to please.
This simple risotto recipe is made with butter and parmesan cheese. You can make endless variations by adding ingredients, such as mushrooms, seafood, lemon, etc.
1 quart chicken stock
1½ cups arborio rice
½ cup white wine
1 medium shallot, chopped (about ½ cup)
3 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1½ tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then reduce heat to low, so the stock just stays hot, but does not cook or boil.
Use a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, and heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat.
As the butter melts, add the chopped shallot, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring until shallots are slightly clear.
Add the rice to the pot and stir it quickly with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula until all of the rice is well coated.
Being careful not to let the rice get brown, cook for another minute or so, until the rice smells slightly nutty.
Add the wine, and continue to stir and cook until the rice completely absorbs the liquid.
When the rice looks dry, add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed.
When the rice looks to be nearly dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.
It's very important to keep stirring the rice while cooking, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to keep it from burning, and to add the next ladle of stock as soon as the rice is nearly dry.
One ladle at a time, keep adding hot stock and stirring the rice until the liquid is absorbed. As it cooks, the rice will become creamy as the starches begin to escape.
Keep adding stock, one ladle at a time, for 20-30 minutes or until the grains become tender, but still firm to the bite. They should not be crunchy.
If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn't done, you can finish the cooking with hot water. Just add the water one ladle at a time, the same way you added the stock, and keep stirring until it is absorbed.
Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoon butter, the parmesan cheese and the parsley, and season to taste with salt.
Risotto turns glutinous if held for too long, you should serve it right away.
When risotto is cooked properly, it will make a soft, creamy mound on a dinner plate. It should not be runny, and it should not be stiff or glue-like.
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