Normally steel cut oats take a while to cook, unless you do an overnight soak which I never remember. My solution is to make a large batch to last a few days since they heat very well in the microwave. I generally use whatever nuts are on hand, and on this particular day pistachios were at bat. Another twist is to use pine nuts which really play up the Italian inspiration for this hearty breakfast. —Jennifer Perillo
To make the oats, bring the water to a boil in a deep pot. Add oats and cook until they begin to thicken. Reduce to a simmer, and continue cooking, uncovered, until grains are slightly tender and water has mostly absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off heat, cover pot and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Make-ahead: Steel cut oats reheat very well, so I like to make extra this way we can enjoy them on busy weekday mornings. Store leftovers in a covered container. Spoon our individual portions into a bowl, adding a tablespoon or two of milk or water, then cover and microwave until heated through, about 1 minute does the job in my 1000 watt microwave.
To serve, add 1/2 cup of cooked oats to a deep bowl. Scatter sugar or honey and raisins on top. Add ricotta cheese and sprinkle pistachios on top. Serve immediately—I like to stir it all up so I get a bit of everything in each spoonful!
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and FoodNetwork.com. She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).