We’ve been doing a lot of work lately in the kitchen with our customers’ help to achieve the best flavor pairings with our whole grain pastas. Getting a whole grain pasta dish to succeed on the menu isn’t as simple as swapping it for traditional pasta. It’s a bit like pairing wine with food – some pairings bring out the best qualities in both, and some don’t work as well. After all, to earn its place on the menu, a dish has to appeal to more than just the health-conscious diner!
Here’s some of what we’ve learned, and principles to help you in your healthy culinary development:
Whole grains have a more assertive flavor profile than refined grains, so you want to choose ingredients and vegetables that can match that intensity.
Ingredients that Pair Well With Whole Grain Pastas
- Vegetables such as kale, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli rabe, asparagus and brussels sprouts
- Mushrooms of all types, especially earthy wild and exotic types like morels, porcini or chanterelle
- Aged, cow’s-milk cheeses of Northern Italy, like Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Heat from chilies or crushed red pepper flakes (peperoncino)
In the next issue, we’ll look at cooking techniques that can also lead to great-tasting whole grain dishes.
Lorenzo Boni, Executive Chef, Barilla America