Great Grains

Essential to a healthy diet, grains have come into their own.

Photos by Jen Fariello

Remember when whole wheat was the sum total of our grain experience? Hemmed in by geography, we were limited to what our nation’s breadbasket had to offer. Now, with cross-cultural foodways and shortcuts to international markets, grains with names like farro (from Italy) and kamut (from Asia) are bringing with them new textures and flavors that boost our well-being. Here are some recipes that turn humble whole grains into gourmet-worthy presentations.

Squash and Farro Risotto

2 cups farro

1 cup squash, diced

½ cup onion, diced small

3-4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped

1 tablespoon oil

Heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions 1-2 minutes until lightly browned and caramelized. Add squash and sauté 1-2 minutes more, then add farro. Add stock gradually, stirring constantly until the farro is fully cooked with a bit of creamy liquid still visible, about 15-20 minutes. Add rosemary and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4

Quinoa and Sorghum Pudding

1 cup quinoa

½ cup sorghum grain

3 cups water

2 tablespoons sorghum molasses

1 tablespoon butter    

2 tablespoons pecans

1 tablespoon bourbon

¼ cup heavy cream

Salt to taste

Toast sorghum grain 5-10 minutes in 350-degree oven until sticky and light brown. Melt butter and molasses in saucepan over medium heat then sauté quinoa and toasted sorghum just to coat grains. Add bourbon and cook until gone. Add water and simmer until grains are cooked, about 10 minutes. Add pecans and cream and cook until thick and creamy. Serve warm with seasonal fruit.

Serves 4

Kamut with Roasted Cauliflower, Golden Raisin and Carrot Salad

1 cup kamut

1 small head of cauliflower

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup shredded carrots

2 tablespoons malt vinegar

½ tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon ground cumin

½ tablespoon chopped parsley

½ tablespoon chopped mint

1 tablespoon olive oil

Soak kamut overnight in 3 cups of water. Discard water and cook in boiling salted water for 40 minutes. Strain and allow to cool completely. Coat whole head of cauliflower in oil and salt and roast at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cut florets from around the core of the cauliflower. Warm malt vinegar, maple syrup and ½ cup of water until just boiling and pour over raisins. Let sit about 10 minutes until plump. Mix remaning ingredients together, and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4

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