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Dueling Grains: Recipe Courtesy of Chef John des Rosiers, of Inovasi

Inovasi translates as “innovation” in Indonesian, an appropriate description of Chef John des Rosiers’ delectable cuisine, whose influences and techniques include French, Italian and Japanese. Grace your autumn table and holiday celebrations with this elegant side dish that highlights seasonal grains and mushrooms.

Dueling Grains
Four servings

4 tbsp sweet onions, diced small
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup organic farro verde (Anson Mills or other)
1 cup red Inca organic quinoa
2 tbsp whole, unsalted butter
1 cup wild mushrooms, in season
1/4 cup pecan halves, roasted
1/2 cup asparagus, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 tbsp Black Truffle Gatherer’s Sauce (see note, below)
3 tbsp red wine
1/2 cup duck reduction, made from natural duck (substitute vegetable broth reduction for a vegetarian version)
 Salt and pepper to taste

Black Truffle Gatherer’s Sauce

This is a traditional Alba (white truffle) sauce made from the broken bits at the bottom of a truffle gatherer’s sack. Specialty online and retail stores sell a version of the sauce, which is based on ingredients that include mushrooms, anchovies, black olives and yeast. The result is a flavorful paste with a caviar-like appearance and texture.

1. Prepare the grains separately, using two pots and half of the onions and olive oil in each pot. Sauté the onions in the olive oil over high heat until they turn translucent. Add the grains and sauté for two minutes; this will add richness and a toasted element to the dish.
2. Cover the quinoa with 1-1/2 cups water, cover, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook until the quinoa “pops,” usually about 20 minutes. (A small squiggly piece will pop out of the center of the grain.) Remove from heat and set aside. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Cover the farro verde with 2 cups of water and repeat the same process as for the quinoa, but allow a longer cooking time, usually 35 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Season with salt and pepper.
4. In a saucepot that has been preheated on high, add the butter and mushrooms and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Then add the wine and allow to cook long enough to reduce the wine by half. Add the pecans, asparagus, truffle sauce and duck or vegetable reduction. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper.

Using a 3"-wide ring mold, spoon in the farro and form into a flat layer, then spoon the quinoa on top. Place a serving plate on the ring mold and turn over. Spoon the mushroom mixture around the bottom perimeter of the ring mold, and then remove the mold.

Serve and enjoy!

Inovasi is a contemporary bistro that focuses on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Chef John des Rosiers creates memorable dishes from ingredients that are locally sourced and, when appropriate, accented by others from around the globe. Inovasi is located at 28 East Center Avenue, in Lake Bluff, IL, 60044. Call 847-295-1000 or visit for menus and online reservations.