Kasha Varnishkes, or pasta with toasted buckwheat groats, is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish dish, and comfort food extraordinaire. The simple dish gets lots of flavor from caramelized onions, and though it was historically made with flavorful schmaltz (or rendered chicken fat), it's now more often made with oil, which has the advantage of keeping the dish pareve.
Kasha, though it isn't technically grain at all, is classed as a whole grain thanks to its nutritional profile. The gluten-free rhubarb relative is abundant in fiber, protein, and important nutrients including zinc, copper, magnesium, and potassium. Plus, it adds a toasty, nutty flavor and lovely textural interest to plain pasta.
And though the dish is humble, it can also have a welcome place on the holiday table. Giora Shimoni writes "I like to make Kasha with Bowties for holiday meals because it brings with it memories of generations past and thus adds meaning to our holiday celebration."
Edited by Miri Rotkovitz
- 1 pound bowtie (farfalle) noodles
- 2 tablespoons, plus 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1 cup kasha (medium granulation)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the bowtie noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.
2. In a chef's pan or large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes more. Transfer to a dish and set aside.
3. While the onions are cooking, add 2 cups of water or soup stock to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm.
4. In a small bowl, beat the egg. Stir the kasha into the egg so that all the kernels are coated. Return the chef's pan to the heat and add the egg-covered kasha. Fry over high heat, stirring, until the egg has dried and kernels are separate, about 3 minutes.
5. Pour the hot liquid over the kasha. Add the onion and seasonings. Cover and simmer on low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes.
7. When the kasha is cooked, stir in the bowtie noodles. Add 2 more tablespoons of oil and stir to combine. Serve immediately.