Gluten-free Italian food seems like about the worst combo in the world, am I right? When we found out a couple years back that my mom and sister BOTH had Celiac I started panicking for them. I’ve always worshipped at the church of gluten, so the concept of a life without it seemed unfathomable. The idea that they’d never be able to go to Italy and taste the amazing pastas and “I’m having a relationship with my pizza” pizza, or go to Paris and eat the steaming crepes from street vendors or quiche in cute little cafes quite literally broke my heart. So I hit up Google to see just how grim their future looked. Much to my surprise, I discovered that Italy takes excellent care of its residents and visitors with gluten issues, while France could stand to make a little improvement. Better than I expected, but still not great.
Well now I’ve done the unthinkable (because I thought my vegetarian diet wasn’t quite high-maintenance enough) and started cutting gluten out of my diet. But instead of viewing it like the terrible thing that it is, I have taken it as a challenge to recreate some old familiar favorites, try new recipes, etc. I’m still rather new to it, so I haven’t fiddled with it too much, but the G-free red velvet cupcakes were a smash, and I’m happy to say we have another success!
One of my favorite things to snack on in Italy was arancini. The delicious, fried balls of risotto are exactly as sinfully delicious as they sound and always lasted about 2.5 seconds before being completely scarfed down.
Go ahead and add those to the list of things that came to mind as the world came crashing down with visions of going to Italy with a gluten allergy.
I finally decided to try my hand at making them for the first time and, of course, tried making them as a gluten free version.
Although the little guys I had in Italy were filled with gooey mozzarella I made these with ricotta (I wish there was a good reason for that decision, but mostly it was just that I didn’t feel like going to the grocery) – using a variation on this recipe. Literally the only changes I made were swapping out the thyme for fresh basil, dredging with gluten-free flour, and using gluten-free breadcrumbs for the outside.
Making these gluten-free was actually super easy and I didn’t feel like they lost anything in the swap. Aside from being a little time consuming they were also really easy to make – and so incredibly yummy!