Gus sure is getting big! When we got him, he was a paltry 4 pounds... today? He weighs a beefy 10 pounds! We expect him to get around 13 pounds or so, but who knows at this point. He wanted to show off just how long his little doggy body is getting this morning - look at him stretch!
We have a bowl of steel cut oats often for breakfast - I love their chewier texture and hearty nature over the flakes of old-fashioned rolled oatmeal. However, for breakfast we usually sweeten them in one form or another. Have you ever thought about taking them in a savory direction though?
That is exactly where they went in this Oat Risotto with Peas and Asiago dish we made for dinner! While we waited on the pot of vegetable broth to come to a simmer, I began softening a leek that we cleaned and thinly sliced. Leeks are quite notorious for being sandy and dirty, so be sure to rinse or soak it as the grit can hide in the several layers the vegetable has.
To those tender leeks, a cup of the firm steel-cut oats are poured in and quickly toasted. As with most risotto preparations, this recipe takes the same path - broth of some sort (we used vegetable) is slowly added and the mixture is stirred until whatever grain or rice you used is just tender, but still retains a bit of a toothiness to the center. This process will suspend the now-chewy oats in a thick sauce - for a pop of color, we then stirred in scallions and tiny balls of baby peas to warm through.
To give the sauce a sharp edge and add a velvety note, fresh grated Asiago cheese is stirred in, along with a few shreds added on top, once we eased the risotto into the serving bowls. While I'm all for using arborio rice in risotto, using the oats in this dish anchored it with an earthiness that was a little unusual, but rightfully delicious. If you want a more distinctly flavored cheese, you could swap out the Asiago with a salty Pecorino.
Oat Risotto with Peas and Asiago