Monday, January 28, 2008

friday night special

a while back, i posted something about making farfalle pasta and using them in that most staple ashkenazi friday night side dish, kasha & bowties. that recipe used whole grain kasha or buckwheat groats. it just happened at that time that i had made bowties for something (else) and had kasha on hand i wanted to use up. of course, the two naturally went together.

while not everyone is a fan of the whole grain type {me included!} or is "mental" enough to make their own pasta {include me here}, this is easy-er way to make this earthy flavoured shtetl concoction which is so venerated. i should add that it's also the way 99.9% people make it!

a few things before starting — wolff's kasha. MEDIUM grind. essential.

if you can't get it, any other medium grind buckwheat groat will do.

on the subject of bowtie pasta, or farfalle (farfalline), try to get hold of the smaller type. i dunno, i just kinda like it better than those large ones. of course, it'll taste the same — just as good — with the regular sized ones. just use more than the 2 c i call for here, to compensate.

stock or water to cook the kasha? STOCK, naturally. if you do end up using water, you'll need a bit more salt and pepper at some point or can add onion and/or garlic powder. it really is best made with leftover (chicken) soup stock but regular stock powder can be used, too.

kasha & bowties

earthy-flavoured & studded with browned onions and mushrooms, this savoury side dish is also known as kasha varnishkes. it is typically served alongside a plate of brisket or roast chicken and is their perfect accompaniments. kasha and bowties also goes well with vegetarian dishes like baked tofu or seitan and plenty of vegetables.

makes 8 to 10 servings


1 c medium grind kasha (i use wolff's brand)
1 egg or egg white

2 c broth (vegetarian or chicken)
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp or more pepper
2 tbsp margarine or chicken shmaltz

2 large onions
2 - 8 oz pkgs (button) mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, opt.
2 tbsp oil or margarine or shmaltz

2 c mini farfalle (or equivalent large size)

salt & pepper to taste


cook in the following order (for best results and quickest way):

place water in a large pot to boil the pasta. while waiting for the pasta water to boil and to cook pasta, continue with the following —

make the onion mushroom mixture:

cut the onions in either thin rings or half moon shapes or in a dice. slice the mushrooms and garlic also, if using.

in 2 tbsp oil, cook the onions until they are golden (this will take a while over medium heat), and then add the garlic. stir fry it for about two minutes or so. add the mushrooms and cook, stirring until they become limp and exude their juices.

it should take about 5 minutes or so for them to fully cook. you will see there will be no juices left, if there were any to begin with, once all is cooked.

place in a bowl and set aside.

make the pasta:

cook the mini farfalle according to package directions (mine is about 8 minutes); make sure not to overcook them while cooking the above mixture.

place in colander and drain well and let cool. set aside covered.

make the kasha:

before cooking the kasha, have the broth mixture ready: heat the broth until very hot either on the stove top or in the microwave. you can also boil water in the kettle and just add powdered stock.

melt the margarine in the stock and add the salt and pepper. don't worry about getting it perfect now as you'll adjust it later.

measure out the kasha grains.

in a small bowl, beat the egg well. add the kasha to the egg, or vice versa, and stir so that all is coated.

this is essential so that the grains become separate and do not cook to a mush. the egg provides a sort of protective barrier. the mixture should be thick and not watery or runny (there shouldn't be any egg left showing).

in a nonstick pan on medium high heat, add the kasha mixture and cook for about 4 or 5 minutes, stirring and breaking up any clumps. DO NOT add any oil to the pan. it is always dry roasted. it will become fragrant and toasted. if the kasha colours, turn down the heat.

add the hot stock to the kasha and stir well.

cover the pot with a lid to contain the steam and cook for about 10 minutes over low heat.

check around 8 minutes to be on the safe side.

once 10 minutes are up, lift the lid to see if there is any liquid left. there should be none. it should not be wet at all. if it is, recover the pot and continue cooking until all the broth is absorbed.

mix the kasha well to fluff it up. at this point, i turn the heat to medium and cook it without the lid for about 5 minutes to dry out the kasha a bit.

assemble everything:

in a large bowl, mix the kasha and the bow ties together.

stir well but gently. taste for salt and pepper and adjust. some people will serve the dish as is, at this point.

add the onion mushroom mixture and stir well again. retaste it and adjust the flavours if necessary. i also add about a 1/2 tsp sugar (don't knock it til you try it!); some people add onion or garlic powder. i've seen it made with chopped parsley, too (<-- weird, LOL).

serve as you would any side dish. goes well with brisket or roast chicken.



prettybaker said...

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the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

lovely! I may be about to take posession of a 100-year-old lokshn breyt. If so I will certainly have to make my own varnishkes--I will try this.

burekaboy — said...

pretty baker - ?? ???????

ulay ratzit l'hagid (li) mashehu??? LOL. k'tavt et ha'tguvah b'ivrit?

chocolate lady - a shainem dank :) i hope you do come into possession of this object and will post something about it with pictures. surely, there is an interesting mayseh {true or imagined} to go along with it! sorry for the delay in replying to your comment.