Early last year I was told that I should eat more whole grains. I thought it was a good idea, but there was a problem: I eat a ton of pasta. And I mean literally a ton of pasta; I haven’t actually weighed it, but I’m sure that if you added it all up it would be at least a ton. So I set out to find some alternatives. I cooked with grains like spelt, brown rice, and wheat berries. And they were good. Yet I still missed pasta, so I started looking for a whole grain pasta that I liked. I started, naturally, with whole wheat pasta. I tried multiple brands, and multiple cooking methods, but I couldn’t find one that I liked. The main issue is the texture, but in a few cases the flavor was off too. One day at my local bodega I saw a package of brown rice pad thai noodles, and something clicked. They looked an awful lot like fettuccine, I thought. I brought them home and cooked them and was amazed. They have great, silky texture, and they cook very quickly (occasionally the cooking time on the package directions are way too long — one said to cook for 12 minutes but was ready in a mere 7). Plus the pasta cooking water has a great starchy quality that is perfect for adding to the sauce. I began to hunt for more brown rice pasta. I found more brown rice Asian noodles, like mai fun, but I wasn’t prepared for the day I found brown rice ziti, farfalle, and shells. Since then brown rice pasta has been my go-to pasta. I have tried other kinds of pasta, which I will write about in future installments of Beyond Whole Wheat, but so far brown rice is my favorite. Does anybody else have a good pasta replacement?
Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Add some chopped marinated artichokes and cook until heated through. Add the juice of one lemon, and stir through. Add a small can of Italian tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add as much brown rice pasta as you plan to eat. Cook according to package directions, but check to see if it’s done throughout the process just in case. When it’s done add the pasta and some of the water to the pan with the artichokes and stir through. Let it cook together for about a minute, then turn off the heat and garnish with another splash of olive oil.