Creamy risotto…worth the wait!

Monica says:

Wishing we were still in Italy…I can’t believe that we were able to see such a wonderful place!

It was breathtaking in so many ways…the sights, the sounds, the smells.

And of course, I am remembering some of the food that we enjoyed. One of my favorite lunches was a seafood risotto in Venice…oh, it was so delightful!


So it made me wonder…can I actually make a risotto that comes even close to that one?

I am always up for a culinary challenge and I will try any recipe at least once, so…

My quest for a shrimp risotto began.

And this is what I came up with while cruising around on various food sites.

Thank you, Epicurious

Shrimp Risotto


  • 5 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice* or medium-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley



Bring broth and 1/4 cup wine to simmer in medium saucepan. Reduce heat; keep hot.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon garlic and crushed red pepper, then shrimp. Sauté until shrimp begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup wine. Simmer until shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Drain shrimp, reserving cooking liquid.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and remaining 1 teaspoon garlic; sauté until onion is pale golden, about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups broth mixture. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue adding broth mixture 1 cup at a time, stirring often and simmering until liquid is absorbed before adding more, about 20 minutes. Stir in reserved shrimp cooking liquid. Cook until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

Stir shrimp and 2 tablespoons parsley into risotto. Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowls. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons parsley.

What I did differently…

I used ½ pound of cooked shrimp (I had a bag from Sam’s Club), so I didn’t have to sauté the shrimp….just added them in with the wine.


I also added mushrooms when I added the onion and garlic. Since I had a bunch of fresh mushrooms that I didn’t want to waste, it seemed like a good idea…and it was!


The only thing about making risotto is that you need to be focused on what’s happening in your skillet at all times. The risotto demands your attention in order for it to be creamy and smooth (you will be stirring it almost constantly) ….and of course, that’s the desired outcome!


Timing is important, too.

Risotto needs to be eaten immediately. If not, it may become dry! Who wants to eat dry risotto??

There you go…shrimp and mushroom risotto with a side salad. Delicious!


So if you’ve never cooked risotto, give it a try…it’s easier than you think!

All you need is “Solo un altro po’ pazienza” (Just a little patience!)

Your tummy will thank you….and be super happy!

© 2014, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

Christmas parties….eat before you go!

Monica says:

My sister has had an annual “Teddy Bear Tea Party” with close friends and their children in mid-December for the past 20+ years. It’s a wonderful tradition where everyone wears a hat and brings a teddy bear to the tea.


Here is Daria on the right with several of her cousins back in 2011. My Claudia was in NYC and couldn’t attend.

My girls looked forward to it every year when they were young and it was always a great way to celebrate the Christmas season.

Well, all of our children have grown up, but some of my sisters still have their children in the area, and they in turn have children, so the tradition continues.

The party is wonderful and full of Christmas goodies and delights. A special Christmas tea highlights the day and everyone, young and old, drinks it out of beautiful bone china tea cups. The menu always includes little tea sandwiches filled with tuna and chicken salad, a special salad with pecans or walnuts, veggies and dip, and various other items brought to the celebration by the attendees.

Attending this party as the sole gluten-free person is difficult, at best.

As soon as you enter the house, the smell of pumpkin cinnamon rolls as well as the many other delights and confections, is so overwhelming, you can almost cry knowing full well that you will not be able to eat any of these food items.

Since my husband and I went to a late Mass at our church, we rushed to get to the party and I had not eaten anything before Mass. So I think I really had a hard time dealing with being gluten-free….yes, the oddball among the “regular” people.

And you would think after 12 long years of being gluten-free it gets easier….it does in many ways, but not always!

My sister did have some chicken salad set aside for me (couldn’t have tuna since I am allergic) and gluten-free crackers for which I am so grateful.

The night before I made a gluten-free sour cream coffee cake and had such a hard time removing it from the bundt pan, and when I finally did, the whole thing crumbled! Such a disaster!

What did I do? I pieced it together and brought it anyway….at least I had one calorie-ridden thing to eat when everyone else was munching on Christmas cookies, walnut roll, lemon fluff, etc. Of course, no one wanted to try the gluten-free cake…who would with all of the other goodies?

So, I suppose my best advice when attending a holiday celebration….eat before you go….just in case you are not able to indulge in much!

Enjoy the people, not the food necessarily, even though it’s hard to get past all of the wonderful aromas! All of that food will make you sick and miserable….albeit lovely to look at and sniff!

© 2014, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

It’s National Cookie Day!

Monica says:

Oh what a great day to celebrate! Who loves cookies?

We certainly do!

Ever since Daria bought a bag of cinnamon chips while visiting the Wilbur Chocolate Factory in Lititz, I was dreaming of oatmeal cookies.



When the girls were little, I used to bake oatmeal cookies with cinnamon chips if I could find the chips….they always seemed to be elusive! Anyway, the cinnamon chips that she gave me were the mini ones, so I just knew that I had to marry these with cookies!!


This recipe is very simple….that’s what we like, right?

You don’t have to make these oatmeal cookies with cinnamon chips (although I HIGHLY recommend it)…you can add in raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts, or whatever else you like….or nothing at all! The oatmeal cookies can stand alone and just be delicious!

It’s up to you!


Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies

Preheat your oven to 350⁰. Choose two favorite cookie sheets and line them with parchment paper.


Whisk together the following:

1 ¼ cups brown rice flour

¼ cup arrowroot starch

3 cups oatmeal (gluten-free, of course)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon (good quality)

½ tsp salt

Set the dry ingredients aside.


In a large bowl or stand-alone mixer, cream the following:

1 ½ sticks of salted butter

¾ cup brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar


Now add in eggs, one at a time and mix after each until well blended.

2 large eggs (room temperature)


Add in:

1 ½ tsp vanilla

If you are using a mixer, slow down the speed to medium or less, and add all of the dry ingredients. I like to add the dry a little at a time.  Continue until all dry and creamed ingredients are blended.

Now stir in:

1 cup of your choice of cinnamon chips, chocolate chips, walnuts, dried cranberries, raisins, etc.

Cover the dough with wax paper and chill for at least 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator.


Are you ready to bake?

Get out your ice cream scoop and scoop generous portions onto your parchment paper-lined baking sheets and be sure to leave room around each cookie. Mine stayed in lovely mounds and took between 12-15 minutes to bake and brown slightly.

Remove from oven and let your cookies sit on the sheet for a few minutes before letting them cool on wire racks.

Using an ice cream scoop yields nearly 2 dozen cookies, while if you drop them by tablespoonfuls, you would yield nearly 4 dozen…once again, your choice!

Do you like your cookies big like we do?


 It’s your choice….just enjoy the day!


© 2014, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk