Wheat Berries with Pistachio Pesto

By Emma Laperruque
May 7, 2018
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Author Notes: These wheat berries think they’re the cutest pasta shape around (and we won’t tell them otherwise). I love a big bowl of pesto-y wheat berries just as they are, but why not add a runny-yolked egg on top, or serve alongside grilled vegetables, like eggplant, or meat, like chicken? Keep any leftovers in the fridge and serve cold—maybe at a picnic!—just like pasta salad. Emma Laperruque

Food52 Review: Featured in: Why You Should Cook—and Dress—Your Grains Like PastaThe Editors

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Serves: 4

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 1/2 cup dill, stems mostly removed
  • 1/2 basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup grated pecorino, plus more for garnish
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
  • 3/4 cup shelled pistachios (about 4 ounces), plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Set a large pot of water (at least 8 cups) over high heat. Add the salt, plus enough to taste so the water is very salty. Bring to a boil, then add the wheat berries. Boil for 50 minutes to 1 hour until tender but chewy. (If needed, add more water during the cooking process, so they’re always in a lot of liquid.)
  2. Meanwhile, make the pesto. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Add the pistachios to a rimmed sheet tray. Roast for about 8 minutes or until fragrant and toasty. Cool completely. Combine the herbs, pecorino, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping down as needed. Add the pistachios and pulse until roughly chopped. Add the oil and pulse to yield a rustic, chunky pesto. You don’t want it completely smooth—you’d lose the pistachios’ pretty color and, if over-processed, they’ll turn into butter, making the pesto greasy. Season with salt to taste.
  3. When the wheat berries are done, use a spider to transfer them to a big bowl. Add some pesto and toss. Add some salty, starchy water from the pot and toss. Add more pesto, water, and salt as needed, until a sauce forms. You won't use all the pesto, but it keeps in the fridge (and freezer!) well.
  4. Serve hot with pecorino or pistachios or both on top.

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