As Sarah mentioned in her post, the Internet is a great place to go to find recipes. I would hate to be a cookbook publisher these days, because, frankly, I almost never go to a cookbook for a recipe anymore.
I have mentioned several times already that I am doing a trial of wheat-free eating, just to see if I feel better -- fewer aches and pains and more energy. Unfortunately I have not seen (felt) any results yet, so it's a little frustrating to keep it up. But, I'll give it a couple more weeks before I hang it up. I think, as of today, I am going to go oat-free as well.
There is nothing like giving up a main staple in my diet to get me up off my rump and hunting for new recipes. I find it especially hard at breakfast to find an alternative, but dinner, too. I really rely on good homemade bread to supplement our meals around here.
Besides potatoes, especially mashed, there are a couple of side dishes my family really enjoys -- polenta and risotto. We usually eat polenta with sauce, but risotto is good with grilled summer food. Actually I could eat it as a main dish, but my guys are meat-eaters, so it's relegated to a side dish. This week I had a hankerin' for some asparagus, so I looked for a basic risotto recipe that contained asparagus. This recipe was really, really good. In fact, after I added it to the menu and bought the ingredients, I had a risotto dish for dinner at a local Italian restaurant when I went out with a friend. It was a risotto with roast chicken, carmelized onions, and broccolini. It was good, but this risotto from Simply Recipes was waaay better. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it was so good. I was planning to add frozen green peas to it as well, but when one kid started making noises about the asparagus, I decided I better not push my luck. At least the asparagus pieces were large enough to pick out. The only change I made was to substitute red onion and two cloves of garlic for the shallots because the grocer was out of shallots.
And by the way, except for cutting the onion and asparagus, my 10-year-old daughter made this dish. If she can do it, you can do it!
4-6 side servings
2 T. unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup chopped shallots (or 1/2 cup chopped red onion and two minced garlic cloves)
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
About 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut in 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
(If cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free stock.)
In a 3 or 4 quart saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon butter on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for a minute or two, until translucent. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring until nicely coated.
While the shallots are cooking, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan.
Add the wine to the rice. Slowly stir, allowing the rice to absorb the wine. Once the wine is almost completely absorbed, add 1/2 cup of hot stock to the rice. Continue to stir until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, adding more stock in 1/2 cup increments. Stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 20-25 minutes.
With the last ladle of stock, add the asparagus. Turn off the heat.
Note the stock amount given is approximate. You may need a little more or less. If you end up needing more stock and you find yourself without, just use water.
Gently stir in the Parmesan cheese and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.