When I was in high school, my father discovered whole-wheat pasta and jumped on the bandwagon with full force, like so many other health-conscious people at the time. Our pantry was stripped of all traditional pasta, and boxes of brown stuff took its place. It clearly wasn't the high point of my pasta-eating days. I ate the stuff hesitantly; it tasted dense and sad to me more often than not.
When I ran off to college a few years later, and then to Italy to study abroad, I pushed the whole-wheat stuff aside and redeemed myself. I declared that I'd never touch whole-grain pasta again — that is until Italian locals told me about Kamut pasta, a whole-grain variety they claimed was far from heavy and lackluster. As always, the Italians know what they are talking about when it comes to carbohydrates.
Why Kamut Pasta Is the Best Whole-Grain Pasta Around
Kamut is an ancient grain variety also known as khorasan wheat (Kamut is the trademarked name). It's actually higher in protein than modern wheat, so pasta that is made from it is actually more tender than pasta made from regular whole wheat.
Kamut pasta still has the nutty taste that whole-wheat pasta does, but it's not nearly as dense and heavy. It's almost as light as pasta made from refined wheat and has a rich, slightly buttery taste. It's the ultimate swap-in for whole-wheat pasta if you're trying to get more whole grains on your plate — but honestly it's a great choice even if you're not.
I particularly like it with heartier, more full-flavored sauces like puttanesca, pesto, or brown butter. It's also become easier to track down since I first saw it in Italy. Health food stores and Whole Foods carry it, and it's easy to buy online.
Another perk of Kamut pasta? Although it does contain gluten, it's a different kind of gluten than what is found in modern varieties of wheat, so some individuals who are mildly sensitive to regular wheat — not those with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerances, however — might be able to tolerate it better than traditional pasta.
Have you ever tried Kamut pasta?