Oat Berry Pilaf With Walnuts and Gorgonzola
Recipe and photograph reprinted with permission. From America's Test Kitchen's The New Family Cookbook. © 2014.
- Servings: 4 to 6.
This recipe is a good example of how you can create big flavor with healthy whole grains. While the recipe presents this pilaf as a side dish (it would be great with with poultry or seafood), because it is so satisfying, it could equally be the main event itself.
As always with recipes from the meticulous editor at ATK, this recipe comes with insight as well as instructions.
Why This Recipe Works
While we think of oats mostly as part of a wholesome breakfast, oat berries—whole oats that have been hulled and cleaned—have a pleasant chew. For a great side dish, we created a satisfying oat berry pilaf with hearty add-ins. To cook the oat berries, we opted not to toast them since they naturally have a nutty flavor, and instead added the water and oat berries to the pan after sautéing some shallot.
After testing various ratios of water to oat berries, we settled on 2 cups water to 11/2 cups oat berries. Creamy, pungent Gorgonzola provided a nice balance to the earthy oat berries’ nutty flavor. First we tried stirring the Gorgonzola into the oat berries once they were cooked, but the result was a thick, gluey mixture. It was better to wait and simply sprinkle the cheese over the oat berries just before serving.
The addition of tart cherries and tangy balsamic vinegar cut through the richness and strong flavors, while parsley gave our pilaf the freshness it needed.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups oat berries (groats), rinsed
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
- Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in water, oat berries, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and continue to simmer until oat berries are tender but still slightly chewy, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and lay clean folded dish towel underneath lid. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Fluff oat berries with fork and fold in walnuts, cherries, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with vinegar. Serve, sprinkling individual portions with Gorgonzola.