Pasta week: Kamut and quinoa pasta with arugula-parsley pesto

“What is kamut?”

The Wife posed a valid question for which I had no answer. Pasta Week at Al Dente started with emmer, and continued with this variant on traditional wheat. In lieu of my own explanation, I offer the definition from (wait for it)

“KAMUT” is not the name of a wheat. In 1990, the word “KAMUT” was registered as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark office. This was done to protect and preserve the exceptional qualities of a particular variety of the ancient wheat, khorasan, for the benefit of all those who are interested in high quality, healthy food.

Even though Kamut is a brand name, it appears on boxes of pasta and other products at Green Planet Grocery and Wegmans’ Nature’s Marketplace in the same way you would find quinoa or rice. In order to carry the Kamut name, the wheat must be from the ancient khorasan variety, certified organic and have a protein value of at least 12 percent. Lesson: khorasan by any other name is not Kamut.

Tonight’s pasta was Eden Organics’ Kamut and quinoa twisted pair: a gemelli-shaped pasta crafted from a blend of these protein-rich ancient grains.


RAW FLAVOR: Bland and gritty. I like raw pasta straight from the box. This had no flavor and left a gritty film in my mouth.

STRAIGHT FROM THE POT: Bland and impenetrable. I put a small ramekin full of kosher salt (about 3 tbsp.) in the water and all that it flavored was the pan.

DID THE WIFE APPROVE?: “This was good.”

VALUE: $3.49 for 12 oz.

Kamut and quinoa pasta with arugula-parsley pesto
Based on a recipe from Whole Foods Market

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup packed arugula leaves
  • 1 cup packed parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp. reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 oz. Kamut and quinoa pasta
  • Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 16 oz. total) cut into strips, then halved.
  • Kosher salt

Combine garlic, walnuts, arugula, parsley and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (Remember Jared’s Law of Pesto: Don’t over oil! Load your ingredients into the food processor, pour one circle of olive oil, the run the food processor slowly pouring olive oil into the neck until creamy.). Pulse until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Transfer to a large serving bowl and stir in ricotta, grated cheese and black pepper. Set aside.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and add pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, following package directions for timing.



Heat a medium skillet on medium and add olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add chicken to pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Set aside.

Reserve one ladleful of water and drain the pasta. Add the reserved cooking water to the pesto. Add pasta and chicken to pesto, stir to combine and serve hot.


3 thoughts on “Pasta week: Kamut and quinoa pasta with arugula-parsley pesto”

  1. The ingredients for this recipe are going on my shopping list! Thank you for the post – and for making a clear distinction of what is KAMUT and what is khorasan – ! Enjoy the rest of pasta week!

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