Steel Cut Oats

serves 6 to 8

I’ve been experimenting with making these in the slow cooker, but ironically enough, they cook to quick. In an ideal world, you’d put them in before bedtime and wake up to hot oatmeal. Unfortunately they cook in about two hours, and while I’ve gotten that little sleep on occasion, I much prefer at least five or six hours.

1 cup steel cut oats

4 cups water

pinch of salt

Bring 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.

Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Onions & Ricotta

serves 2

Sure, this sounds decadent and like a lot of work, but it comes together pretty quickly if you have leftover oats in the fridge and you can always make a big batch of caramelized onions to store in the fridge too—they’ll just need a brief reheat in the microwave.

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

1 small onion, thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon molasses

1 cup cooked steel cut oats

2 tablespoons fresh ricotta

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Saute until they begin to soften and become golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in molasses, and a touch more olive oil if necessary. Cover skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, until onions are very tender, about 10 more minutes.

Divide the cooked oatmeal among two bowls. Top with equal amounts of caramelized onions and fresh ricotta. Stir together with your spoon before digging in.