Risotto Milanese

Our first meal in Milan was this delicious, beautiful rice dish. While it is technically a first course or served with Osso Bucco, my husband and I devoured a huge serving of Risotto Milanese and declared ourselves happy. I will confess to eating this dish a, um, few more times over the next week.

And, of course, making it the moment we got home. Risotto is a perfect gluten-free dish — elegant and delicious.

Risotto has a reputation for being challenging and time-consuming. This is only sort of true. Yes, you need to keep on eye on the pan while the rice is absorbing liquid, but this generally happens in about thirty to forty minutes. Constant stirring is important, but you can also find time to do other tasks, including drinking a glass of wine!

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Topping

I think gluten-free versions of “cream of anything” soups are like unicorns. Very expensive unicorns. I’ve heard rumors of companies like Progresso making GF cream of mushroom soup, but haven’t found it at my local store. And I use soups like this so infrequently, it doesn’t make sense to order from my usual sources.

Luckily, I stumbled across a great Smitten Kitchen version of a green bean casserole with homemade mushroom sauce that was easily (easily!) converted to gluten-free. Add crispy fried onions, and you’ve got yourself that most traditional of Thanksgiving dishes — one nobody will ever know is GF. Though they will know it’s incredibly delicious!

Zucchini Fritters

One day, as I was shredding potatoes for hash browns, I had an epiphany. A little one, but an epiphany nonetheless. I realized I needed to squeeze all the excess water out of the potatoes before cooking them. Now, based on what I see on the Internets, *everybody* already knew this somehow. I guessed I missed a memo.

So, putting two and two together — never let it be said that I don’t catch on quickly — I realized I needed to do the same thing for zucchini when making fritters. It is fascinating to discover how much liquid is in a zucchini. And making fritters is a tasty way to make zucchini interesting again. Seriously…it’s been coming on strong all summer, and I don’t think there’s an end in sight!

If you make too many fritters, you can freeze and reheat in the oven. If you’re looking for a party appetizer, make smaller fritters. The best part of this recipe? Nobody will ever know they’re gluten-free. I love delicious recipes that showcase GF-specific ingredients — the lack of gluten doesn’t mean a lack of flavor.

When researching this recipe, I discovered a few recipes featuring freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and one that used feta. I think cheese is always a good idea! Now, given my druthers, I’d go with the feta (and skip any additional salt), but it’s always good to have options. Also, you can make the dipping sauce however you like. I use Greek yogurt all the time, so naturally gravitate in that direction.

Twice-Baked Potatoes

Twice baked potatoes are a fun way to make our friend the potato something special. If you use a microwave to cook the potatoes, this comes together pretty quickly on a weeknight.

The key to twice baked potatoes is what you do with your mashed potato filling (plus, well, that sprinkling of cheese on the top of the potatoes). You can go as basic as salt, pepper, and butter. Or you can fancy your potatoes up with Greek yogurt or sour cream. Whatever strikes your tastebuds.

Scalloped Potatoes

My first memories of scalloped potatoes come from making this dish from a box. It was…good, but not something I’d crave. When I went gluten-free, I just assumed scalloped potatoes were off the menu. But, one night I found myself wanting something a little cheesy, a little creamy, and a lot potato-y.

And scalloped potatoes were exactly what I craved! This recipe is perfect for weeknights or dinner parties. Parboiling the potatoes in the cream mixture cuts the cooking time, getting this dish on the table with little hands-on effort.

Sushi Rice

I’ll admit it: I don’t have the patience to make sushi at home (though I hold out high hopes that someday I will!). I do love serving sushi rice — a slightly sweetened rice — with certain meals, particularly seared albacore.

Making the rice is amazingly simple; it’s even easier if you have a rice cooker that does the bulk of the work for you. The recipe below assumes you’re cooking your rice on the stovetop, so if you do use a rice cooker, follow the directions for your machine (some have a sushi rice setting, which is really nice).

One key thing to remember before cooking your rice is to wash it several times to remove the outer starches — I generally cover the rice in a bowl with water, swish a bit, then drain using a fine mesh strainer. You will notice the water is very cloudy the first couple of rinses, but will get clearer as the starches are removed.

Chicken Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of my favorite go-to dishes during the week because I always have leftover rice in the refrigerator — I make a big batch every week because it’s great for lunches and dinners. Taking a few minutes to mix up a sauce, shred some chicken, pull out some veggies, and, if I have one handy, crack an egg makes ordinary rice more interesting.

The recipe below assumes you’re working with pre-cooked chicken and frozen vegetables. If you choose to cook your chicken, make sure it’s cut into very small bite-sized pieces. Saute the chicken until nearly cooked through and set aside. Do the same for the vegetables.

Fish sauce is a key ingredient here. It adds flavor that soy sauce alone can’t create. Also, this is a lightly sauced fried rice because the fish sauce adds to much flavor. If you like more sauce, add at the end to make sure your flavors are balanced.