**See bottom of post for contest details to win a 1 year supply of Catelli Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains Pasta**
Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to a really fun event for dietitians and food bloggers put on by Catelli to showcase their new Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains pasta. The guest of honor was Chef Lynn Crawford, who you’ve probably seen on Pitchin’ In, Top Chef Canada, Iron Chef America or through her restaurant, Ruby Wathco. With much enthusiasm and a great sense of humor, Chef Lynn led an informative evening of cooking tips and demos, and most importantly, lots and lots of food tasting!
So what’s the deal with this new pasta? It’s made up of 5 different ancient grains to provide all the fiber of a whole wheat pasta, plus the added bonus of the nutrition profiles of these unique ancient grains. I was pleasantly surprised by the texture of this pasta. The flours produced by these grains are much finer than pure whole wheat so you end up with something in between a whole wheat pasta and traditional white pasta. You may already be familiar some of these grains, but if you’re not, here’s a little summary of what you can expect.
Quinoa is high in fibre, protein and minerals – including magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron – and low on the glycemic index
Amaranth is also rich in protein, containing all the essential amino acids as well as key vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and iron
Teff is a poppy seed-sized grain high in protein, fibre, calcium, thiamin and iron
Sorghum is a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, thiamin and magnesium
Millet is a nutty-flavoured grain high in magnesium and niacin
If you’re bored of the same old same in your kitchen, these grains are also great on their own and can be substituted for your regular rice or grain dishes. We even tried popped sorghum during one of her demos. It looked just like mini popcorn, and had a really rich nutty flavor. I might just have to try it for my next movie night!
As the evening went on, we got to try Chef Lynn’s marinara sauce, a fresh pesto made on the spot and finally finished the evening off recreating her Chilled Noodle Salad with Ginger and Wasabi Dressing in the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts kitchen. Here’s a shot of me and my cooking partner Vanessa Choot from modernmixvancouver chaneling our inner chefs.
and the finished product…Print
- 1 pkg (340 g) Catelli® Healthy Harvest® Ancient Grains Spaghettini
- 2 cups (500 ml) snow peas, thinly sliced diagonally
- 1 cup (250 ml) shelled edamame
- small English cucumber
- 2 cups (500 ml) napa cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 cup (250 ml) red pepper, cut into matchsticks
- green onions, thinly sliced
- ripe avocado, sliced
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) cilantro leaves
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) black sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) seasoned rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp (45 ml) canola oil
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) soy sauce
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
- 1 tsp (5 ml) lemon zest
- 2 tsp (10 ml) brown sugar
- 2 tsp (10 ml) sesame oil
- 1 tsp (5 ml) grated fresh ginger
- wasabi to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain well. Rinse under cold water until well chilled; transfer to large bowl and set aside.
- In a pot of boiling water, cook snow peas and edamame until tender-crisp. Drain and rinse under cold water until well chilled; set aside.
- Meanwhile, halve the cucumber lengthwise and use the end of a spoon to scoop and discard seeds; cut cucumber into julienne strips.
- Ginger-Wasabi Dressing: Whisk together rice vinegar, canola oil, soy sauce, lemon juice and zest, brown sugar, sesame oil and ginger. Season with wasabi to taste.
- Add cucumber, snow peas, edamame, napa cabbage, red pepper, green onions and avocado to noodles; toss with enough dressing to coat.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and black sesame seeds.
If you have time, you can chill the noodle dish by refrigerating for 1 to 4 hours.
Per serving: 590 calories, 19 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 710 mg sodium, 84 g carbohydrates, 145 g fibre, 13 g sugar, 21 g protein
Last but not least, she also shared these 10 Tips for Cooking with Whole Grain Pasta
- Watch your cooking time: Pasta should be cooked according to the cook time guide on the package to achieve the ideal al dente texture. For a professional twist, cut one to two minutes off the suggested cooking time, drain and finish off cooking your pasta in the sauce.
- Skip the oil: There is no need to add oil to your cooking water. Despite popular belief, this actually takes away from the pasta’s final texture and ability to adhere to the sauce. Skip the oil and embrace the starchiness of your pasta.
- Water your pasta: When cooking pasta, use a large pot. As basic as it sounds, it will make a difference in the outcome of your pasta. You will need one litre of water to about 100 grams of pasta. Using a large pot will give the pasta room to boil and help keep the noodles from sticking together.
- Think salty sea: Add a generous amount of sea salt to the boiling water to ensure your pasta is well seasoned. You may even want to taste the water before adding your pasta to make sure there is enough salt.
- Avoid rinsing: For hot pasta dishes, never rinse the pasta after cooking in order to retain the starch and enable warm sauces to better adhere to the pasta.
- Create the perfect pair: Delicate pasta shapes go well with delicate sauces, and heartier, ridged shapes pair well with richer sauces and ragus. For example, try long thin pasta, such as spaghetti, with a classic marinara sauce. Penne, ziti or rigatoni lend themselves to thicker sauces with more texture, such as a ragu Bolognese.
- Embrace the texture: Whole grain pasta has a hearty, firm texture that’s perfect for cold or chilled recipes and marinates well in tangy dressings. The firmness of the noodles also provides a good base for both crunchy and juicy fresh vegetables.
- Top it off: With a nutty, rich flavour, whole grain pasta can take on other strong, complex flavours. Ingredients that pair well with whole grain pasta include garlic, chili, anchovies, rich pesto sauces, and bitter or dark leafy greens such as kale, Swiss chard and radicchio.
- Take the heat: When preparing hot pasta recipes, keep your serving plates or bowls warm in an oven set to a low temperature until you’re ready to serve. This will ensure that your final dish stays nice and hot.
- Crank up the flavour: Whole grain pasta is an easy base on which to build a healthy and delicious meal. Incorporate a lean protein, plenty of fresh vegetables, and seasoning with big flavours in the pasta for an even more nutritious and satisfying dish.
So there you have it, Thank you Catelli, Chef Lynn and The Pacific Institute of Culinare Arts for a fun and delicious night. If you’re interested in trying out this new nutrition packed pasta, I’ve paired with Catelli to offer you a year’s supply! Check out the contest details below and get cooking!
How to Enter (You can enter up to 3 times with each of the options below!)
- Subscribe to my free newsletter at lindsaypleskot.com (Grey sign up box on the right)
- Follow @lindsaypleskot on Twitter or like my Facebook page and tell me what favorite pasta dish you’d make with hashtags #Catelli #HealthyHarvestAncientGrains
- Tag a friend (1 friend = 1 entry)
Contest closes Monday, April 13th. A winner will be chosen at random and contacted Tuesday, April 14th. Good luck and happy eating!