Risotto is one of my favorite comfort food dishes because the base of the dish, Italian Arborio rice, is naturally gluten-free.
The creamy essence of risotto comes from this special type of rice rather than a flour thickening agent. Creamy, dreamy, comfort food goodness.
Arborio rice is a high starch, round short-grain rice. It absorbs liquid and releases starch, creating a natural, thick creaminess. If you cannot find Arborio rice, you can substitute either Carnaroli rice or white sushi rice to prepare a delicious gluten-free risotto.
This risotto features fresh asparagus and spring peas for fresh, seasonal, and subtly sweet flavors.
- 4-5 cups gluten-free vegetable broth (or chicken broth, simmered)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
- 1 lb asparagus (rinsed, tough ends removed, and sliced into 1" long pieces)
- 1 yellow onion (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup room temperature dry white wine
- 1 cup spring peas (thawed, if frozen - or grilled)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (confirm gluten-free, may contain additives)
- Parmesan shavings (for garnish)
- 2 tbsp fresh Italian flat leaf parsley (chopped)
- Dash salt (or to taste)
- In a medium-sized pot, heat the broth to a simmer. Continue to simmer on low heat as you prepare the rest of the risotto.
- In a medium-sized sauté pan or skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the 1" long asparagus pieces and cook until softened and just about fork tender, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- While the asparagus is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a separate, wide sauté pan or heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is shimmering, add the onions and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the Arborio rice to the pan and stir to coat. Cook until you hear the rice begin to pop and/or crackle.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the room temperature white wine (cold wine will shock the rice, flake the outside and harden the core). Cook until wine is evaporated and absorbed. .
- Take one cup of simmering broth from the pot and pour it over the rice. Stir gently until well combined. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid reduces and there is very little liquid left in the pan. As the risotto cooks, it should be bubbling, but not rapidly. Reduce heat to medium-low if the risotto is bubbling too much.
- Repeat the step above, adding one cup of broth after the previous cup is absorbed. The risotto will thicken and become creamy throughout this process, which takes about 25-30 minutes. The risotto is done when the rice is tender, but still has bite. (Note: You do not have to use the broth in its entirety, if you achieve this texture with four cups of broth, stop there and save the remaining cup for another use).
- When you add the final cup of broth, add the sautéed asparagus.
- When the last bit of broth is just about absorbed, fold in the grated Parmesan and remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Divide the risotto between two bowls for a hearty main meal, or four smaller plates as a side dish. Garnish each bowl with a few Parmesan shavings.
Reminder: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels to confirm the product is gluten-free. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.