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
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.