Back in 2004 I thought I had an allergy to gluten. For weeks on end I’d endure horrible stomach cramps and loaves of bread had me keeling over. After a series of tests my doctor informed me that I didn’t have celiac, that my sickness was likely caused by an overabundance of wheat and white flour in my diet. Essentially, I was OD’ing on paninis and pasta. For a time I tried a host of gluten-free pastas and was underwhelmed (to put it mildly) by the options. Tough noodles that fell apart when refrigerated, I couldn’t imagine corn noodles in my diet. Suddenly I became frightened. If left on a deserted island with a choice of a single food that would give me comfort, it would be pasta, and the thought of having to keep my white flour in check, the very notion that I couldn’t overindulge in my favorite food, gave me palpitations.
CUE HORRIBLE FLASHBACKS OF GLUTEN-FREE PASTA, CIRCA 2004.
Eight years later, I’m pleased to say that the options for a healthier pesto pasta are limitless. Whole wheat is now a staple in my diet, and gluten-free isn’t the cardboard it once was. And on my quest to find healthier, tasty options I believe I hit the jackpot when I scored fresh KAMUT pasta.
PROTEIN-PACKED PASTA THAT’S FLAVORFUL AND NUTRITIOUS? I’D LIKE TO THANK THE ACADEMY! [WIPES AWAY TEARS]
A kinfolk of durum wheat, Kamut is a nutrient-rich cereal grain whose kernels are three times larger than common wheat, and contains 40% more protein. Reading up on the Kamut’s health benefits on LiveStrong, I learned that:
Kamut is a whole grain alternative which is extremely nutrient-rich. A 100 g portion of uncooked kamut provides 337 calories, 15 g of protein, 70 g of carbohydrates, 2 g of fat, 9.1 g of dietary fiber and 6 mg of sodium, according to the website Nutrition Value. In addition to being an excellent food source of energizing complex carbohydrates and muscle-building protein, kamut is very high in many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B1 or thiamin, B2 or riboflavin, B3 or niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium and manganese. In fact, the only minerals kamut is not an excellent food source of are calcium, sodium and flouride, which comes from fish and flouridated water. Unlike some grains, kamut has a low oxidation level and retains most of its nutritive value even after grinding and processing.
About the taste, you wonder. Kamut reminds me of a cross between semolina and whole wheat. It’s buttery, nutty and tender, and is completely filling. Five hours later after hoovering a bowl of kamut pasta, I’m still completely full, energized and satiated.
A few friends inquired about where one could purchase Kamut. In New York, it’s available at Eataly, Whole Foods and in most health food shops that support a vegetarian/vegan diet. I also discovered that Eden Organic is now selling Kamut (of which you could also purchase on Amazon).
Today I decided to blitz up some savory sundried tomato pesto, which proved to be the perfect pairing to my Kamut spaghetti!
4 ounces kamut pasta (fresh recommended)
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)
1/4 basil leaves
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 fat clove of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste
Bring a medium saucepan filled with salted water to a boil. Toss in the pasta and cook until al dente (to the tooth).
While the pasta is cooking, blitz all of the pesto ingredients until you achieve a thick paste. Feel free to add more olive oil depending upon how dry your sundried tomatoes are. Once the noodles are cooked, add a tablespoon of pasta water to the pesto and coat the noodles.
Serve pipping hot + enjoy!