A Night with Lynn Crawford and Catelli Ancient Grains Pasta!

>> Thursday, March 26, 2015

Last week I had the honor of attending a special event hosted by Lynn Crawford and Catelli introducing the Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains Pasta collection. I’ve used Catelli Healthy Harvest pasta in many of my dishes before and was looking forward to testing out this new version in their product line. The difference between this new variation (which is only available in Western Canada for the time being) and what they offered before is due to the 5 ancient grains, so called due to the fact that they’ve been around for a very long time and is used in many various recipes around the world. (Contest to win a year's supply of Catelli Ancient Grains Pasta at the end of the post!)

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.

Teff is mostly used in Ethiopia, some people might have tried it without knowing. If you’re familiar with injera, the spongy bread served as a side at Ethiopian restaurants, than you’ve eaten the ground up version of teff. Normally they’re poppy sized grains that can come in a variety of colors. It has a mild nutty flavour and is a great source of protein, calcium and iron.

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.

Last but not least, there’s Millet, often associated to bird seed due to its grain size, when cooked millet produces an amazing fluffy texture similar to that of mashed potatoes. Although it looks small in size, don’t doubt its healthful benefits, it packs a punch with providing heart healthy properties.

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!

Lynn Crawford provided some great tips on how to cook pasta and some things never to do and watching her demonstration was definitely a fun time. She cracks me up plus her pasta dishes were divine! Here are some things I hope you’re already doing in your kitchens:

• 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!

Pasta Salad Ingredients:

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

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
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

For those that are interested, please comment below or email me your contact info for a chance to Win A Full Year's Supply of Catelli Ancient Grains Pasta! Good Luck!!!


Glogirl March 26, 2015 at 5:28 PM  

Sounds like a great pasta! I'd love to try it.


Josh Siemens March 26, 2015 at 9:37 PM  

looks amazing. Thanks for the chance.

Andrea March 26, 2015 at 10:44 PM  

We love Catelli pasta. We eat it at least twice a week (and with 5 boys that is A LOT of pasta). Thanks for the chance :)
email: andrea_hockeygirl at hotmail dot com

Jonnie (JB) March 26, 2015 at 11:18 PM  

Looks like a great time! I love pasta but haven't tried the Healthy Harvest yet.

Maggie C March 27, 2015 at 5:10 AM  

I would really love to win this - thank you for the chance. Our family always have so many gatherings and this would be a great way to test out Chef Lynn's recipes! Thanks for the chance!

email: cheung (dot) maggie39@yahoo (dot) ca

maria March 28, 2015 at 5:04 PM  

Looks delicious! Love pasta!

billiondollarprincesss (at) hotmail.com

Bonnie Huang March 29, 2015 at 8:19 AM  

Glogirl: good luck on the draw!

Bonnie Huang March 29, 2015 at 8:19 AM  

Vilmark: good luck on the draw!

Bonnie Huang March 29, 2015 at 8:20 AM  

Josh: you're welcome and good luck!

Bonnie Huang March 29, 2015 at 8:20 AM  

Andrea: that's amazing! Good luck!

Bonnie Huang March 29, 2015 at 8:21 AM  

Jonnie: hope you like it when you do! Good luck!

Bonnie Huang March 29, 2015 at 8:22 AM  

Maggie: you're welcome! Good luck!

Bonnie Huang March 29, 2015 at 8:22 AM  

Maria: it really is! Good luck on the draw!

Andrew Pham (apham17) March 29, 2015 at 2:55 PM  

What a delicious giveaway! Thanks for the chance Bonnie :)


lushka March 29, 2015 at 8:23 PM  

What a lovely giveaway! Thanks for the chance.


lushka March 29, 2015 at 8:24 PM  

What a lovely giveaway! Thanks for the chance.


Bonnie Huang March 30, 2015 at 5:48 PM  

Andrew: you're welcome! Good luck!

Bonnie Huang March 30, 2015 at 5:49 PM  

Lushka: you're welcome & good luck!

Maggie C March 31, 2015 at 6:38 PM  

Hi there - thank you for the chance. Love to win of course =D Thank you for the chance!


pamalot April 1, 2015 at 2:38 AM  

I would love to win this giveaway so that I can try/explore some new pasta recipes.
thank you

Wendy Hutton April 1, 2015 at 5:31 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy Hutton April 1, 2015 at 5:33 AM  

thanks always looking for new ideas/recipes for pasta

Annie1 April 1, 2015 at 7:14 AM  

this looks like excellent pasta and I'd love to win so I could try new recipes with my family!


Debbie Flynn April 1, 2015 at 7:43 AM  

I would love to try this pasta. Thanks for the chance.

Miranda Russell April 1, 2015 at 8:10 AM  

Yum the recipe she shared looks awesome, I love wasabi. It would be great to win - I can host pasta night for everyone!

Radhika Khan April 1, 2015 at 9:00 AM  

Yes please, I could eat pasta every day! (radical_rad@live.com)

Lisa Nguyen April 1, 2015 at 2:04 PM  

Looks like you had so much fun! Definitely will need to try out the recipe - sounds like it's right up my alley :)

My email is nguyen.lisa.v[at]gmail[dot]com - thanks Bonnie!

Yuen C April 1, 2015 at 2:23 PM  

Catelli pasta is delicious!

Angela M April 1, 2015 at 5:05 PM  

Catelli Pasta is a staple in our house. I really like their whole grain spaghettini.

Bonnie Huang April 2, 2015 at 11:37 AM  

Wendy: good luck on the draw!

Bonnie Huang April 2, 2015 at 11:37 AM  

Annie1: thanks for stopping by & good luck!

Bonnie Huang April 2, 2015 at 11:38 AM  

Miranda: it was yummy & good luck!

Bonnie Huang April 2, 2015 at 11:39 AM  

Radhika: yummy indeed! Good luck!

Bonnie Huang April 2, 2015 at 11:39 AM  

Lisa: I think you'd enjoy it! Good luck!

Bonnie Huang April 2, 2015 at 11:41 AM  

Angela: I agree! It's a nice change from the norm. Good luck!

ice_cold April 3, 2015 at 9:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
ice_cold April 3, 2015 at 9:09 AM  

The pasta looks amazing! I can't wait to try this pasta.

email: akleung2@gmail.com

Wendy Jensen April 3, 2015 at 1:04 PM  

It would be amazing to win a year's worth of pasta!

Angie B April 3, 2015 at 9:36 PM  

We love pasta at our house and I would love to win this! Our favorite dishes usually involve penne. angandcolin(at)hotmail(dot)com

Bonnie Huang April 4, 2015 at 11:31 AM  

Angie: mmm love penne. Good luck!

Eldon L April 5, 2015 at 7:17 PM  

Thanks for the chance, I love spaghetti with meatballs! eldoo (at) outlook (dot) com

Bonnie Huang April 6, 2015 at 10:33 AM  

Eldon: awesome! Good luck!

Bonnie Huang April 6, 2015 at 10:46 AM  

Congrats to Eldon for winning the draw!!!

T Ya April 6, 2015 at 12:59 PM  

I would love to win! Please enter me in your contest! Thanks

Karla S April 13, 2015 at 4:18 PM  

awesome,would love to be entered!

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