Gluten-Free Chicken Risotto

Arborio Rice, which has a tougher skin and holds up better under stirring, is the standard base for Risotto

Rice can get so boring, and what better way to add some elegant flair than with wine, cheese and cheese?

3 – 4 large chicken breasts, fully cooked and cubed (see hints below); set aside.

In a large sauce pan over high heat, combine and stir for 1 – 2 minutes (until rice begins to make a popping noise):

1 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice*
3/4 – 1 cup fresh, roughly chopped mixed herbs (arrugula, basil, oregano, thyme, parsley)

Quickly add and stir:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free white wine (almost all wines are gluten-free, although a few are stored in containers that may have previously contained gluten-products)

Turn heat to medium-low and leave uncovered, checking often. When liquid is almost gone, add:
1 1/2 cups gluten-free chicken broth or enough to add a small layer of liquid to the top of the pan again. Stir and let rice continue cooking on medium low heat.

Continue to rotate wine and broth until rice is almost done but still barely crunchy to the bite, about 20 – 30 minutes. Add:

2/3 cup shredded parmesan or other hard, white cheese (note: while hard cheese do not contain gluten, they do contain casein – the protein in cheese – which has a similar molecular structure to gluten, so some gluten-free dieters also avoid most cheeses)
1 cup chicken broth
Prepared, chopped chicken breasts

When cheese is melted and most of the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and serve.

Note: I used left-over chicken for this recipe. I initially marinated a full family-size package of chicken breasts in gluten-free sun-dried tomato dressing (Whole Foods) and baked in a 9 X 13 baking dish, reserving the juices after baking. I stored the leftover chicken overnight in a container with the reserved liquid to keep the chicken moist and then used the liquid as my initial broth (with the fat skimmed and removed) in the risotto. The additional subtle flavors were delightful.

*Arborio rice should be available in your grocery store. It is a fatter rice with a thicker skin, allowing it to retain its shape during the cooking process. If you cannot find Arborio rice, you can substitute brown rice, but the taste and texture will be different, and you will need to adjust your cooking times to the new type of rice you choose.

Note: to serve as a side-dish, do not add chicken. Risotto is a flexible dish, so play with the spices to create your own personal favorite. ©Gluten-Free Culinarian / originally published on The Diet Diaries.

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