Filed under: Pasta
So happy to announce an article I co-wrote with Zoe Mendelson is up on Food Politic. Its about food marketing to children, and its feisty.
Filed under: Pasta
I recently wrote for a new food news and culture site called Food Politic:
Filed under: Pasta
Wild einkorn grain was harvested by early humans in the late Paleolithic and early Mesolithic Ages, 16,000-15,000 BC. Last week, I bought it as pasta at the grocery store. In search of a whole-wheat noodle that doesn’t taste like mush I stumbled across a selection of pastas made from different varieties of wheat. My inner hunter-gatherer instantly took over and I walked out with a box.
After doing a little research I found out that emmer, spelt, einkorn, and other non-traditional wheat pastas are higher in fiber, protein and nutrients than the classic blonde semolina. Emmer, for instance, is a great source of protein, 7g in a ¼ cup dry, which is more than brown rice or quinoa. I also learned that some pasta labeled whole wheat is actually just semolina enriched with flaxseed or legume powder, which maybe explains why they’re soggy and taste bad. The older varieties that I’ve tried have a rustic, toasted, nuttiness unique to each strain. I can’t wait to try more!
Aside from my nerdly excitement over the chance to taste test all the types of wheat that I can get my hands on, I think aligning consumer interest with wheat biodiversity is pretty cool. Its following the trend towards greater variety set by apples and heirloom tomatoes. Local wheat farmers growing ancient and unusual varieties of wheat have popped up across the country. Growing just one strain of wheat can be dangerous for farmers and consumers because the crop is vulnerable to attack by pests and diseases that feast on that strain (unless harsh pesticides are involved). If different varieties are planted then some are likely to be resistant when others aren’t, like insurance. Genetic diversity, especially of crop wild relatives, is also useful for breeding in desirable traits.
The recipe below is a modified version of a winter dinner my mom used to make me. It brings comfort and warmth for the winter months ahead. The original recipe from Cooks Illustrated encrusts the noodles with garlic breadcrumbs, but with the heartier einkorn pasta I thought that was a little over the top. I also substituted spicy chicken sausage for pancetta because it happened to be in the fridge at the time and it worked well. Enjoy!
Whole Wheat Pasta with Greens and Beans
1tb olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 oz pancetta, cut into ½ inch pieces (I used spicy chicken sausage)
1 medium onion, diced
¼ tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
12 cups kale, loosely packed (1 to 1 ½ lbs), trim thick stems, cut leaves into 1-inch pieces
1½ cups low-sodium chicken/vegetable broth
1 can (15oz) cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
13 ¼ oz whole wheat pasta
4 oz fontina or pecorino cheese, grated
ground black pepper and salt
Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add pancetta, and cook until crispy. Remove the pancetta from the pan, but leave 1 tablespoon oil.
Add the onion, oregano and red pepper flakes to the pan, cook until translucent then add the garlic. Cook for a minute more then add the greens in two batches. Pour in the broth and turn down the heat to medium. Cover the pan and cook until the greens are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the pancetta and beans to the pan, which should still have liquid on the bottom.
Meanwhile, boil 4 quarts of water. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt. Here’s the best step: drain pasta just before it is done and add it to the pan to cook in the sauce for about 2 minutes until it is ready. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add cheese. Eat immediately!