Dietary guidelines say you need at least 3 servings of whole grains each day. But if you don’t know barley from bulgur, here’s a guide to versatile grains, from amaranth to wheat berries.
Grano [gra-NO] is probably unfamiliar to most Americans, since it’s a new product in the United States. Grano (Italian for “grain”) is essentially polished durum wheat (a variety of wheat used to make pasta), and most reminiscent of barley. It has a golden hue and an appealing chewiness when cooked. Because the bran has been removed, the starch is more accessible, which means you can cook grano as you would Arborio rice for risotto. Or you can simmer it without stirring, which leaves the grains intact. It provides a nice combination of texture and neutral flavor. Use grano in soups, stews, salads, and other dishes in which you might use a small pasta such as orzo. Grano has yet to appear on major supermarket shelves, but you may be able to find it at health-food stores or Italian markets.