We’ve been working a lot 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!
Last issue we focused on ingredient pairing, this time let’s look at cooking techniques to help in your healthy culinary development. Whole grains bring a nutty, bread-like flavor to the plate, so using cooking methods that create similar flavor profiles will put you on the right road.
Cooking Techniques that Bring Out the Best in Whole Grain Pastas
- Roasting or toasting vegetables and proteins gives you caramelization for added sweetness
- Grilling and smoking veggies and proteins adds charred or smoky notes that complement whole grains
- Especially with kids menu items, use sauces that will coat and cover the surface of the pasta; toss pasta in the sauce, coating each piece, before distributing, which helps avoid concerns about “brown” pasta
- Don’t overcook or hold your whole grain pastas too long; because the bran interrupts the gluten network, whole grain pastas by nature are not as durable as their semolina cousins
Lorenzo Boni, Executive Chef, Barilla America