Wednesday, January 31, 2007

recipe revisited

i originally spoke about this and gave the recipe in an earlier post but did not have time to get all the information together, so here it is again in its finished pictorial form.

the following side dish is, in my opinion, a good variation of the ashkenazi kasha and bowties in that, instead of buckwheat groats and large bowtie pasta, semolina is used along with mini pasta shells. the recipe is from cookbook author norene gilletz, handed down from her russian grandmother. i was cautious about trying it at first, as i don't necessarily care for semolina in a babyfood cereal form however it looked interesting and was something i wanted to try. i have to say, cooked this way with a savoury spicing, it turns out extremely well.

the original recipe calls for shells but i also liked the idea of replacing them with farfalline, or mini bowties [which have proven harder to find than mini shells at my everyday grocer; they can usually be found in kosher sections of foodstores]. using mini shells are great as they provide little pockets in which to trap the tender semolina and fried onions.

mini shells with toasted semolina


2 c mini shells or farfalline

2 large onions
1 - 2 tbsp oil

1 c semolina [wheatlets]
2 c hot pasta water

1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

i also add onion powder, garlic powder, paprika

note that the recipe can be halved


in a dry fry pan, toast the semolina over medium heat until it turns several shades darker like the colour of beige sand.

once toasted, set it aside in a bowl.

in the same fry pan, fry the onion until it is browned and then set it aside also.

boil the pasta until cooked to al dente. drain and reserve a cup of the boiling water. put the pasta aside to cool, covered.

in the same dry fry pan, put the semolina back in and heat it up again. very slowly add the boiled water into the semolina and stir as you add it.

cover the pan and let it sit for 10 minutes. add the salt and pepper and stir well. use a fork to break up the mixture into smaller pieces. note that i've found it easier to add the salt and pepper to the dry semolina and then add the water. you may want to try it that way rather than after adding the water for easier incorporation. in the end, either method works.

add the pasta and mix well. using a fork, continue to break up the semolina and mix it into the pasta. this make take a few minutes to do.

taste the mixture and adjust the seasonings.



beenzzz said...

YUM! That sounds delicious. The way I'm feeling right now, I want some chicken noodle soup. STAT! :)) Have any suggestions?

Princess Jibi said...

I really really love shell pasta...
I dont know what are wheatlets though..

Linda said...

i've never thought to use semolina this way. thanks for sharing this!

burekaboy — said...

beenzzz - hope you and zoe feel better soon :) everyone is sick everywhere i turn these days! lots of rest and light foods if u can eat. i can never eat when i feel sick.

pj - semolina is a part of the wheat and is also called farina or cream of wheat. it's called sooji, maybe u know it called that way [or smeedi in arabic]. it looks like white sand and its used in breakfast cereals and baking a lot. its also very common in indian, mediterannean and arabic/muslim food.

linda - hi linda :) thanks for the comment and stopping by. i wasn't sure how it would turn out when i first tried it. it works really well like this.