Chicken Tikka Masala

For reasons unknown, most Chicken Tikka Masala dishes in restaurants are on the bland side. This is great if you’re introducing someone to the idea of Indian food, but these dishes are not palate-pleasers.

This recipe, based on Madhur Jaffrey’s, is full of flavor. Ginger, garlic, cumin, and various other spices bring tons of flavor. Grated tomato melts into the dish, adding even more flavor. I love serving this at parties or dishing up for leftovers during the week. It just gets better with time!

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!

Socca (Chickpea Flatbreads)

Socca, and its cousins farinata, cecina, tortillata, or fainá (among others), is probably the best gluten-free bread you’ve never heard of. At its most basic, it consists of three ingredients: chickpea (garbanzo bean0 flour, water, and olive oil. These ingredients are mixed together, the batter is poured into a hot pan or skillet, baked until crisp and brown.

Simple, huh? As you can imagine, any food that simple has be delicious and flexible. Socca (and relatives) takes on different flavors based on how you choose to season it. Want to keep it basic? Fresh rosemary is traditional. Thyme is delicious. Za’atar is unusual — or not, since this dish has a Middle Eastern cousin. Even Indian spices work well here.

Socca is traditionally thin and a bit crisp on the outside, but still flexible. Farinata, or those I’ve encountered, are a bit thicker. Much of the final product depends on how thick your batter is — for the recipe, I’m suggesting a medium-weight batter. Make it thicker or thinner according to your taste.

Hint: since this is a great flatbread, you can also treat it a bit like a pizza, with great toppings!

Caramelized Onion Dip

Over the holiday season, I find myself eating way more chips and dip than is healthy. The fault is mostly mine since I’m the one who makes this fantastic and addictive caramelized onion dip.

Caramelizing onions changes their flavor — they become mellow and sweet. The amount of heat you use informs the speed of this dish (and the attention required — higher heat requires much more stirring to prevent burning!). I like to cook my onions low and slow while I’m preparing other dishes.

The amount of onion in this recipe seems insane, but they will cook down considerably.