Monday, March 29, 2010

Home Cooked Italian YUM

I LOVE Italian food and Carlie makes some mouth watering pasta dishes. She has lived with Patch and I for the last 8 years and our stomachs are forever grateful. She comes from a family that is half Irish, and half Italian but she is one of those that looks 100% Italian, and from the way she cooks, you would believe it. After I read some of the recipes and comments in the "Gluten-free Italian" cookbook to her, she mentioned that if we could get the hang of cooking with gluten-free pastas we could make just about any of the meals she usually makes because there is no gluten in tomato, cauliflower, nor meat. 

True, although I have noticed the occasional use of wheat-flour in some strangely unexpected places, so we'll keep our eyes open for ways it might try to sneak into our diet. It will depend on how intolerant of gluten I am, but I have read that as little as a tablespoon a day can cause flare ups in some people and we may therefor have to be super vigilant about the ways gluten sneaks into our foods. I believe our new grocery store mantra will be, "When in doubt, leave it out!"

Other than being vigilant by reading the ingredients on pre made and packaged foods, she's right! Preparing Italian food should be pretty much the same as before. 

I found premade gluten-free lasagna noodles at Whole Foods and picked a box up. We are likely to end up making our own pasta some time soon, because frankly, home made is almost always better than pre-packaged, but it's a lot more work to make your own, and we don't have a pasta machine so we will be using prepackaged most of the time. Thankfully the Gluten-free Italian cookbook I bought on amazon does have a pasta recipe that looks like it will make great ravioli. Mmmmmm I can't wait to make interesting fillings for ravioli.

Tonight we made brown rice risotto with chicken. We LOVED IT! And want to make it again. Makes enough for 6-8 people depending on if you serve it as an entire meal as we did, or a hearty side dish.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion
1 small red onion
1 tsp garlic powder (0r 2 cloves of chopped garlic if you ahve them)
10 - 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast cubed (1 inch cubes)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon rosemary
4 tablespoons diced bacon (or prosciutto if you have it)
2 cups brown rice
2/3 cup cooking sherry
3 cups gluten-free chicken broth, heated (I use swansons 100% natural)
3 cups hot water
6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 tablespoons grated parmigiano-reggiano
fine sea salt
black pepper 

in large skillet, on medium heat cook chicken with 1/2 herbs till no longer pink in 1 tablespoon olive oil
in large saucepan, on medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Cook chopped onions and garlic until soft, but before browned. (about 5 minutes) add the rest of the herbs and the bacon or procsciutto. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Add the rice and stir until well coated with oil. All the grains will appear shiny. Stir in the cooking sherry and bring to a boil. Stir and bring down to a strong simmer cooking until all the sherry is either soaked into the rice or evaporated, then stir in 2 cups of the hot broth. Simmer and stir often until the liquid is almost absorbed. Repeat with remaining broth a cup at a time. Repeat with 1/2 the hot water, and cook until rice is tender to the bite (about 35 minutes) adding the rest of the hot water as necessary until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy with a slightly soupy consistancy. It should not be dry or sticky.

Turn off the stove, stir in the parsley and 2 tablespoons butter. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. I added more pepper and garlic powder, but not more salt to mine. Seperate into bowls and sprinkle a tablespoon of the parmigiano-reggiano on top of each. Buy a good cheese, it makes all the difference in the world.

We put the leftovers in a sealed container into the fridge so we wouldn't eat it all up in one sitting. It was tempting, but portion control is part of losing weight while still being able to enjoy delicious food. When split into 6 servings, this ended up being 9 points on weight watchers.


Lynn said...

That gluten is certainly sneaky. I ordered a pulled pork salad at Corky's in Atlantic City (no croutons please) and when I got to the bottom of the salad there was a crouton there. It is so much harder when you eat out.

Sean-Michael said...

so true Lynn. I think it helps when you know a chef somewhere because at least then you know they are watching out for you in the kitchen