Sunday, October 12, 2008

Steel cut oats... savory, not sweet!

The end of this week brings us one more week closer to Christmas (this is what I hear every week as Jeff is such a fan of the holidays!)... we prepared 8 new recipes - our favorite this time was that Brat, Beer and Cheese Soup, the Old-Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting and the Peking Chicken Pizza from last night.

Gus sure is getting big! When we got him, he was a paltry 4 pounds... today? He weighs a beefy 10 pounds! We expect him to get around 13 pounds or so, but who knows at this point. He wanted to show off just how long his little doggy body is getting this morning - look at him stretch!

We have a bowl of steel cut oats often for breakfast - I love their chewier texture and hearty nature over the flakes of old-fashioned rolled oatmeal. However, for breakfast we usually sweeten them in one form or another. Have you ever thought about taking them in a savory direction though?

That is exactly where they went in this Oat Risotto with Peas and Asiago dish we made for dinner! While we waited on the pot of vegetable broth to come to a simmer, I began softening a leek that we cleaned and thinly sliced. Leeks are quite notorious for being sandy and dirty, so be sure to rinse or soak it as the grit can hide in the several layers the vegetable has.

To those tender leeks, a cup of the firm steel-cut oats are poured in and quickly toasted. As with most risotto preparations, this recipe takes the same path - broth of some sort (we used vegetable) is slowly added and the mixture is stirred until whatever grain or rice you used is just tender, but still retains a bit of a toothiness to the center. This process will suspend the now-chewy oats in a thick sauce - for a pop of color, we then stirred in scallions and tiny balls of baby peas to warm through.

To give the sauce a sharp edge and add a velvety note, fresh grated Asiago cheese is stirred in, along with a few shreds added on top, once we eased the risotto into the serving bowls. While I'm all for using arborio rice in risotto, using the oats in this dish anchored it with an earthiness that was a little unusual, but rightfully delicious. If you want a more distinctly flavored cheese, you could swap out the Asiago with a salty Pecorino.


  1. Joe,

    Max thinks that Gus is so cute. If we drive by your town you'll have to hide him.

  2. Joe this sounds like a wonderful dish!
    I love oats and everything that has oats in it and having it as a risotto seems just a perfect way to make use of its creaminess in a savory manner. Wow, I can't wait to try it! (and I love leeks as too!)
    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  3. Hi Joe -

    I am in love with Gus! I have to say that I think I will skip this dish and wait for the next one!


  4. love this take on risotto!!! and gus :) such a cutie;-)

  5. I love steel cut oats and this savory angle is really starting the wheels turning. I'll be making this one soon! Nice job!

  6. Helene - Hee hee!

    Ana - it was a bit different, but a tasty unique take!

    Cissy - Too bad, you might be missing out!

    TTFN - Thanks!

    Lisa - I'm trying to think of other ways to take the oats savory too!

  7. ohh never thought of oatmeal for lunch/dinner...

    gus is TOO CUTE for words!! (is he a mini daschund??)

  8. Lydia - No, he is not a mini... just a pup still at a little over 4 months!

  9. Gus has a beautiful coat!