Trader Joe’s, normally my womb-to-tomb BFFL, did something very mean. After years (years!) of purchasing their very reasonably priced arborio rice for my risottos they stopped carrying it. Just stopped. No warning. No time to stock up. Just, poof! Sure, I could buy it at another grocery store but it’s a certain kind of indignity to have to make a second stop to pay three times the price.
I’d seen barley and farrio risottos around the food internet and so I thought I’d give another grain a try. TJ’s does have plain barley and plain farrio but once I start poking the beast I have to go full throttle. While browsing the grains section, I spotted this Harvest Grains blend: a mix of Israeli (aka pearl) couscous, orzo, garbanzo beans, and quinoa. I approached it like any other risotto: saute some onion and garlic, coat the grains in the pan, slowly add heated stock, grate a ton of parm in at the end.
And it mostly worked. The downside of this particular mix of grains is the rather different cooking speeds. The couscous and orzo cook much faster than the split garbanzo beans. Everything worked out and tasted delicious (parm hides many sins) but I’m not sure this was the right mix for this particular experiment. Cooking it longer would have resulted in mushy couscous and orzo but my dinner companions and I ate slightly crunchy garbanzo beans. Truth be told, I sliced some cooking sausage on top and no one seemed to even notice.