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Jewish Kasha Varnishkes Recipe - Bowtie Pasta with Buckwheat Groats

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Kasha Varnishkes

Kasha Varnishkes

© Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This is a traditional recipe for Jewish kasha varnishkes made with sautéed onions and cooked bowtie pasta and buckwheat groats or kasha. Kasha to Ashkenazic or Eastern European and American Jews means toasted buckwheat groats, but to Russians, Poles, Ukrainians and others, kasha can mean any number of grains, including millet, barley, oats, buckwheat and others.

Jewish kasha varnishkes has unlimited potential -- mix it with mushrooms or mandarin oranges and raisins as in this recipe where it can even be used as a stuffing or cold salad. Experiment a little, the sky's the limit. This is such a soul-warming comfort dish (and tastier than those unitiated might imagine), it's perfect for fall and winter.

The name varnishkes is said to have come from the Ukrainian word vareniki, which today is a filled dumpling along the lines of Jewish kreplach or Polish pierogi (pierogen in Yiddish), but was originally a rectangular noodle in Ukraine. And, indeed, that's what bowtie pasta is -- rectangles of dough pinched in the middle.

When I make this dish, I always cook more kasha than I'll need so I can make kasha croquettes (cooked kasha mixed with finely chopped onion, an egg and fine bread crumbs) that I bake for 40 minutes until crunchy all over. They're great with mushroom sauce.

Here is a larger photo of Kasha Varnishkes.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings Kasha Varnishkes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 4 tablespoons schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) or oil or margarine
  • 2 cups chicken stock or pasta cooking water for a vegetarian dish
  • 1 cup kasha
  • 1 large lightly beaten egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces uncooked bowtie pasta (or more if you like more noodles)

Preparation:

  1. Melt schmaltz in a large skillet and add onions. Sauté over medium-low, stirring frequently, until onions are turning brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove onions to a bowl and set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, cook bowtie pasta in salted water until al dente or done to your liking. Drain and set aside.

  3. Also meanwhile, mix uncooked kasha with beaten egg, coating well. Warm a medium skillet that has a lid and turn kasha into the pan, patting down flat. Cook, stirring often until kasha has separated into individual grains.

  4. Deglaze the pan you cooked onion in with the chicken stock and pour hot stock into pan with kasha, bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until tender, 20 to 40 minutes. Toward the end of cooking, set cover slightly askew to allow any liquid to fully evaporate.

  5. In a large saucepan, combine onions, pasta and kasha, mixing well. Season to taste. Reheat and serve.
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