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oatmeal risotto

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  • A Fish Called Wanda Mar 17, 2005 11:10 AM
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I have to admit that I did not even like oatmeal until I discovered McCann's. It's great for breakfast with all the usual fixings, but I tried making a savory oatmeal risotto the other day, and it was absolutely stunning. I saw the other posts about McCann's, which reminded me to share this recipe with my fellow hounds.

Here is roughly what I did:

I toasted 1 cup of oats in a pan with a little olive oil over medium heat shaking the pan often. When the oats got golden brown and aromatic (about 3 minutes), I poured in 4 cups of water and brought to a boil. Then turned down the heat to low, added salt (about 1 tsp kosher salt or to taste), and simmered uncovered for 20-30 minutes.

While oats were cooking, I thinly sliced asparagus stalks and mushrooms and sauteed them in some oil and butter.

When oats were done (but not mushy), I stired in 1/3 cup of milk, 1 Tbsp butter, about 1/4 cup parmesan, and sauteed asparagus and mushrooms. I mixed it all up, and served sprinkled with extra parmesan. Just heavenly. Who says oats need to be sweet? Could be my Russian heritage speaking here -- we like making hot serials in a savory way.

Note: I grated parmesan with a Microplan grater, which makes it very light and fluffy. If you use a different grater, you might need less than 1/4 cup.

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  1. That sounds great... :-)
    I wonder if you could use a similar approach with kacha (sp?), kamut and spelt kernels. Anyone?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Louise

      I had a very good barley appetizer done risotto-style at a restaurant the other night, and I've seen farro "risotto" on other menus. I don't see why other grains wouldn't work as well.

      1. re: Striver

        i actually came to "risotto" via whole grains--I have yet to make one with arborio rice. there is something called Farrotto which is the same idea, with wheat berries (though I can't find the italian "semipearled" kind so my farrotto is incredibly chewy!). And i've made a wonderful barley risotto, with sauteed mushrooms similar to the oatmeal risotto in the original post.

        Kamut and spelt are different varieties of wheat, so they'd work for a farrotto too. Try soaking the wheat berries in boiled water overnight to soften the hulls a bit.

        Kasha might be nice too, I've never thought of that; will have to try it.

        These whole grain risottos are lovely with vegetable stock which has been made with bean cooking water. Such a stock is creamy and tasty, and adds to the texture of the grains. Barley in particular makes a nice creamy risotto.

        I'm all for savory oatmeal--even with breakfast I season it with butter, salt, pepper and sometimes hot sauce.

        Link: http://www.pdbd.com/henwaller

        1. re: patrick
          m
          Miss Tenacity

          Hear, hear! I even just blogged about this today... *grin*

          Andrea

          Link: http://tenacity.net/2005/04/eats-fit-...

      2. re: Louise
        a
        A Fish Called Wanda

        Whole kernel buckwheat is great toasted with a little oil in a pan before adding water. It gives the grains a nutty taste and keeps them from getting mushy. I usually add some sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions in the end. Oh, and duck fat if you have some, or butter :)

        Just a note: Kasha means "hot cereal" in Russian. In US it came to mean buckwheat, but we make kashas with rice, millet, oats, barley, etc. Usually, we serve them in a savory way, but kids sometimes like to put sugar in them. It's funny that the oat dish I was describing does not cleanly fit into either "risotto" or "kasha" categories. A true risotto is made with rice as the name suggests. And a true kasha would never have parmesan cheese or asparagus added to it. Hey, it sounds like a Russian-Italian fusion ;) Maybe we can call this dish "kashotto".

      3. this seems more like a pilaf than risotto to me. Have you tried adding the liquid a little at a time like in a real risotto, rather than at once? I wonder if the texture would be very different or not.

        What sort of texture does this dish have? Is it much like oatmeal, or does the toasting keep it harder and the grains more separate? Thanks.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kate

          I had similar questions, based on the original post and some of the followups below. I'm rather picky when it comes to risotto, and I believe one of they keys to the dish is properly coaxing the abundant starch out of the specific varieties of rice by careful cooking techniques. Do oatmeal and these other grains have similar starch content that creates the sauce that defines risotto? I guess I'm wondering if I should be annoyed that these dishes are being called risotto (like I am that any combination of liquids served in a cocktail glass is called a Martini these days). ;)

          1. re: kate
            a
            A Fish Called Wanda

            Don't worry about the name. I only called it risotto because I had a similar dish in a restaurant and it was called "risotto" there. Whatever it's called, it's very yummy. Roasting the oats before adding water and not overcooking them makes them very nutty and al dente. I think this only works with steel cut oats like McCann's, not Quaker and other normal oat varieties. Try it -- you'll like it :)

          2. I make a mixture of garlic fried in olive oil, add chopped tomato and fresh basil, cook for a few minutes then mix this in with leftover Oatmeal and sprinkle grated cheese over the top. My picky husband even likes it for a change!
            One can cook the oatmeal in chicken broth for added flavor and leave it set to cool. Today, for lunch, I added a few slices of leftover chicken breast on top which added protein.