I made a tasty, rich bowl of soft-chewy grainy goodness—but I won’t call it risotto.

The word itself implies ‘rice’—and the whole grains I used here (while including brown rice) are a mix of different grains. And then there is the technique. It’s nothing like the process of making risotto—that slow dance of adding hot liquid to the sweating raw grains, a quick stir, a good bubbling, grains soaking it up, repeat.

There was no slow dance with these whole grains. 

These grains just need to plump up and soften. Might as well cook them ahead, and then add them to the sauce. Easy does it.

Still, why did I use whole grains, rather than pearly, polished Carnaroli? It’s because I am on a #weighlossjourney. I need stuff that makes my digestive system work for every bite, and doesn’t give those fat cells of mine empty carbs to feast on. For the time being, I am avoiding polished grains. Instead, I am exploring the deliciousness of whole grains.

Recently, scanning the organic foods aisle for whole grains, I came across a 6-grain mix of barley, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, soft wheat and whole oat groats.

Enter: Granotto. The finished dish is very much like risotto. Especially if you were to add cheese at the end, and a good chunk of butter to make it all’onda. But that, of course, would make it less of a weight-loss-friendly dish.


Serves 4

1.5 cups mixed whole grains

1 tablespoon avocado oil (or other oil)

1 small leek, chopped

1 small fennel, diced

1 medium red onion, diced

1/2 poblano pepper (optional), seeds and stem removed, diced

2-3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup dried mushrooms (shiitake work, porcini if you have)

2 cups (homemade) stock + extra as needed

3-4 portobello mushrooms, stems diced, caps left whole

Cook the grains in lightly salted water according to the instructions on the package, or until al dente. Set aside.

Season the mushroom caps on the gills-side. Add the oil to a heavy casserole and heat over medium heat. Add the portobello caps (whole), gill-side up. Cook for about 1 minute, then turn over and cook for another minute. Take out and let rest on a chopping board.

Add the chopped and diced vegetables to the same pan and stir until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the rehydrated and chopped mushrooms, plus the chopped portobello stems, stir for one minute and add 2 cups stock. Bring to a soft boil, then simmer on low for another 10 minutes.

Add the grains and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add more stock if too dry. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Slice the portobello caps into strips and place on top of the hot granotto. Let warm through and then serve (garnish to taste with herbs).

OPTIONAL: Not watching your weight? Go ahead and spoon in grated parmesan cheese and unsalted butter (all to taste). Spoon through and serve right away.