Gluten free Risotto isn’t a magical unicorn or a rare occurrence. In fact, all risotto is naturally gluten free. It’s often the stock or other ingredients that introduce gluten into a risotto and make it unsafe.
It’s also not a common menu item in restaurants because it does take a little time to make and once it’s done you want to serve it right away and not ‘hot hold’ it, making it a hassle to make correctly in a restaurant environment. Not that it can’t be done. It’s just most Italian style eateries stick with pasta dishes that are easier and more time manageable.
It reminds me of orzo pasta…
Mr. Everything really likes orzo pasta but so far I’ve only found one company that makes gluten free orzo and it’s hard to find in our area. I’ve been on the hunt for more orzo or a substitute that Mr. Everything would like. Then last winter I started learning Italian (yay for Duolingo!) and I got a few Italian cookbooks to help immerse myself in Italian food and words. That’s when it dawned on me how similar Risotto is to Orzo pasta.
Yes, one is rice and the other is a pasta made from flour, but they have enough similarities that I find them almost interchangeable when a craving strikes. Small in size, texturally close, and perfect as a side dish.
When I do make orzo I usually serve it in a creamy and usually cheesy sauce. Risotto is naturally creamy without adding any dairy. The starch from the rice breaks down as it cooks. It mingles with the stock to create a velvety, creamy sauce. It’s amazingly flavorful and a real hit in the comfort food department.
I mentioned before that it takes time to make risotto and it’s true, but it’s not as bad as everyone would have you believe. I’m in the kitchen often and making risotto is like a dance for me. I can multi-task while making it and often read between bouts of adding stock and stirring. The more time you spend stirring the risotto the creamier it will become.
A word about rice…
Making risotto requires using Arborio rice. It’s a short grain rice that has the perfect properties for making risotto. When cooked, the rounded grains are firm, and creamy and chewy compared to other rices, due to it’s high starch content. Their are other rices out there that can be used to make risotto, but Arborio is the most common and widespread to purchase. I usually get mine in the bulk section of my grocery store. A little goes a long way.
In the recipe below I start out by heating the stock in a separate pan. This is so the stock is already warm when you add it to the cooking rice and wont interrupt the cooking process. It’s a tip I learned from one of those Italian cookbooks.
If you are using fresh Chicken stock from a slow cooker you can skip that step and just ladle the hot stock into the risotto pan as needed.
I usually use chicken stock to make risotto but you can use whatever stock you desire. You could even use water, but your risotto would be quite bland. If you are cooking for vegans or vegetarians mushroom stock makes an amazing and flavorful risotto.
Lastly, it’s easy to turn this side dish into a one pot meal by adding cooked veggies and proteins to the finished risotto. I love adding bits of shredded chicken, marinated artichoke hearts, baby kale, and cheese to mine. The beautiful thing about risotto is that is makes a great base for your to build on. So let your taste buds go crazy with add ins.Print
Risotto for two
Creamy risotto for two that uses only 6 ingredients.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Main Course, Side Dish
- Cuisine: Italian
- 3 cups Stock ( Vegetable, Mushroom, or Chicken (if not making vegetarian/vegan))
- 1 TBS Olive oil
- 1/4 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 sm Yellow onion
- 1/2 cup White wine (Chardonnay is my favorite for this)
- 1/2 tsp Dried thyme (1/4 tsp for fresh or 1/2 drop of Thyme essential oil)
- Place the stock in a small sauce pan and heat till just below a simmer.
- On another burner, heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the rice and toast it for a few minutes until it starts to become lightly golden.
- Add in the onions and sauté until soft. Then add the wine and cook down till about half the liquid is left.
- Ladle in a scoop or two of stock over the rice and stir for a few minutes. Allow the liquid to lightly simmer stirring occasionally.
- When the liquid has reduced a bit, but before the pan is dry, add in another ladle full and repeat the process till the stock is gone and the rice is cooked al dente.
The goal is to keep enough liquid in the pan for the rice to soak up and release it's starches into (which is why you stir it after each addition of stock). You are both cooking the rice and creating the creamy sauce at the same time.
If you use up all the stock before the rice is done enough you can use more stock (make sure it's warm) or warm water to finish cooking the risotto.
- Lastly add in the Thyme just before serving.
You can also make this a full meal by adding in pre-cooked protein and vegetables, like chicken and asparagus.
Keywords: Fried rice, Italian, risotto