>> Thursday, March 26, 2015
The most familiar of them all would be Quinoa, all the rage right now due to its heart healthy aspects. The other four ‘supergrains’ are slightly more mysterious to us but has been a large part of staple diets in African and Native American cultures. Amaranth has been used by the Aztec civilization for a millennia. They would create sculptures of the gods from Amaranth and later break them apart and share it amongst the community as a type of communion. Amaranth like quinoa is rich in protein and key vitamins and minerals.
Sourghum is a staple food source in Northern Africa. It can be milled in to flour similar to all the other grains highlighted here and can be squeezed to make syrup similar to molasses. It’s naturally gluten free and has a nutty flavour perfect for pasta. The fact that it’s also a great source of vitamins and minerals such as B6, thiamin and magnesium making it a great option for those looking to boost their vitamin intake.
Although I’ve heard of these amazing grains I’ve never actually cooked with any except quinoa, so I was extremely excited to taste the ancient grains pasta. We got the opportunity to sample the pasta on its own, without any accompaniments to fully appreciate the nuttiness all those ancient grains provided. The pasta was cooked with various times to allow us to choose the perfect al dente chew we preferred. My favorite was the 6 min cook on the pasta (there was 6, 7 and 9 min), although still quite chewy. I believe after the pasta is mixed with a sauce or dressing for a salad, it would help soften it a bit further without losing that al dente mouthfeel. However, it is all a personal choice at this point!
• Salt the water thoroughly to ensure the pasta picks up flavour while simmering
• Use a large pot to avoid sticking and skip the oil which will prevent the pasta from picking up sauces
• NEVER rinse your pasta afterwards – a huge no no because you get rid of all that rich starch which in turn helps thicken up sauces
Afterwards we also got the opportunity to try our hands at making the Chilled Noodle Salad with Ginger Wasabi Dressing using Catelli Ancient Grains Spaghettini noodles. It was extremely fresh and a great way to showcase the pasta aside from the usual pasta sauce.
Overall, I had a great time learning about all the ancient grains and watching Chef Crawford do her thing! I can’t wait to experiment with the pasta myself to see what other unique creations I can come up with, but for now here’s the recipe we tested that evening, with a few slight tweaks I made on how to combine the dish, I hope you enjoy!
1 pkg Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains Spaghettini
2 cups snow peas, thinly sliced
1 cup shelled edamame beans
1 small English cucumber, thinly sliced
2 cups napa cabbage, finely shredded
3 stalks green onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, thinly diced
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated ginger
wasabi powder to taste
Start a pot of water boiling and add in a generous amount of salt (think ocean salty).
Add in pasta and cook accordingly to package directions. Remove from water and set aside to cool – DO NOT RINSE!
In a mason jar, mix together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette dressing. Shake until well combined.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the noodles with the dressing until well incorporated. Toss in the snow peas, edamame, cucumber, cabbage, green onions, and black sesame seeds.
Thinly slice the avocado and set aside.
Plate the salad in to individual portions and garnish with avocado slices and cilantro leaves.
Or if saving for later, store in an air tight container and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
Makes 4-6 servings