Risotto ai frutti di mare (Seafood Risotto)

Risotto is one of the most popular comfort food in Italy. It’s versatile and flexible as it can be prepared with any ingredient, and it is a happy coincidence that this traditional recipe is basically gluten-free!

The rice (Arborio rice) that you will use in this recipe has high rice gluten content, though fear not as this gluten is not what those on a gluten-free diet need to stay away from. This rice gluten content in Arborio rice is what gives this risotto its creamy, rich consistency and texture.

What you have to be a bit careful about is the broth you use with this recipe. Be safe and make the broth yourself from scratch or find broth packets that do not have wheat , barley or rye and their other forms in the ingredients.

For seafood lovers, here’s a recipe you can prepare as an accompaniment to a hearty fare, or you can make it the main course of a meal. Buon appetito!

Ingredients

1 pack mixed seafood
400g 1 pack risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli rice)
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic,chopped
6 tbsp White wine
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 liter fish or vegetable broth (or try a gluten free bouillon broth cube)
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
Steps

Prepare seafood mix by defrosting and patting dry with kitchen paper towel.
Before cooking the risotto, bring broth to a boil then turn the flame to the lowest setting possible just to keep it warm. Using cool liquid would stop the risotto from cooking.

Sautée garlic in olive oil. Turn heat to medium and add seafood mix. Stir and cook for no more than 2-3 minutes. This is to flavor the olive oil. Quickly remove seafood with a slotted spoon leaving all flavored oil on the pan. Place seafood mix in a bowl and cover with foil. Set aside.

Using the same pan with flavored oil, on medium heat, add chopped shallot and cook for 3 minutes or until soft. Add rice and stir for 2-3 minutes to coat rice. This seals the rice to maintain its chewy quality. Once the grains are translucent add white wine, keep stirring and let wine evaporate.

Here comes the tricky part, as this is the secret to the creaminess of risotto. Add the broth gradually by adding a ladleful of broth at a time. Stir using a wooden spoon. Never let the risotto dry out and do not cover the pot. When broth is absorbed, add a ladle of broth again and then stir gently. keep going for about 13-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add seafood mix and it is almost done. Continue stirring for 3-5 minutes until rice is cooked al dente ( tender on the outside but firm to the bite in the center). If broth is absorbed during this time, add broth gradually half a ladle at a time as we don’t want risotto to be watery but should still flow a little when served.

As a final touch, stir in butter and squeeze in lemon juice.
Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
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Gluten Free Blueberry Pancake

blueberry pancake.jpg

With gluten intolerance, the typical pancake is one of the items you would eliminate from your meal planning. It’s such a shame though , as pancakes have become a standard breakfast item for good reason. It’s quick and easy to prepare and you can make exciting combos with different fruits, to add to your fiber intake, or even make dessert pancakes with chocolates (and more yummy ideas you can think of!).

And so what a relief that with flour options other than wheat, the fantastic pancake can still be a mainstay on your breakfast table.

Here’s a great recipe to follow:

Ingredients

1 cup Brown Rice flour  – provides sweet and nutty flavor

1 cup Sorghum Flour  – close to regular wheat

3/4 cut White Rice flour  – lends a light texture

1/4 cup cassava starch – helps to make products less dense

1/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum – helps give it a fluffy texture (optional)

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp butter

An option is to get ready  made gluten-free pancake mixes. if you don’t know where to source all these different ingredients. 

1 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 cup frozen blueberries, thawed (20% off offer on blueberries for home delivery until this Sunday!)

Directions

Combine and sift together all dry ingredients. Beat the egg separately in a small bowl and add in milk. Whisk this into the dry ingredients and add in melted gluten free butter. You can choose to mix in the blueberries at this point.

Heat a frying pan on your stove, add in 1 tbsp of oil and coat the surface. Pour around a quarter of a cup of batter. As for me, I like to wait for the batter to have a few bubbles as it cooks and place around 6 to a dozen berries to evenly cover the whole pancake. After around 3 minutes, flip the pancake and let the other side cook for another minute.

Serve with honey or maple syrup and add in more fruits, if desired. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Overnight Berry Oats

What exactly are overnight oats? These are a no-cook method of making oatmeal. Instead of cooking your oats on the stove, you mix rolled oats with liquid and other mix-ins, and let it rest in your fridge overnight.

Popularly made in nice sturdy mason jars, it’s a quick healthy breakfast or snack option for you and the kids. I sometimes make 5 to 7 jars a weekend so I can grab these anytime for rest of the week.

What’s great about this is you can substitute the ingredients to whatever you feel like to amp up the nutrients or create the flavors you want. You can easily make this gluten-free by using gluten-free oats and staying away from ingredients that contain wheat, barley, spelt, or rye or their other forms.  Oats are naturally gluten-free. Though, during growing, harvest, transport and storage, other grains that have gluten may unintentionally be mixed with oats. And so it is safe to get oats that have the gluten-free label. Household brand Quaker Oats already has a line that is especially branded as gluten-free, so you may want to try this or other gluten-free labeled oats.

INGREDIENTS

Mix-ins:
¼ cup berries
(choose one or mix strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries)

Tip: You can get Berries delivered to your home. A good offer here gets you 20% Off  on imported berries. 

Base:
1/3 cup yogurt (plain regular yogurt–no additives)
3/4 cup rolled Gluten-Free oats
2/3 cup unsweetened milk of your choice
1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

DIRECTIONS
Whisk all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. You can choose to add berries whole or chop them up for better blending of flavors. Spoon into a jar with a nice secure lid. Cover and let rest in your fridge for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight. Enjoy!

Chicka Ortega-Boutain