Kasha varnishkas is an Eastern European dish that mixes bow-tie noodles, kasha grain, and caramelized onions. It's a hearty dish served warm, and one that I grew up eating from time to time.
When I was chef at an upscale take-out shop in Manhattan called Mangia, I made my own version of the dish, but because the store wasn't located in a particularly Eastern European or Jewish neighborhood, and because, as I say, it was high-end, I renamed the item Bow-tie Noodles and Buckwheat Groats. Sometimes I'd call it Farfalle Pasta, Buckwheat, and Caramelized Onions. I should also note that I used DeCecco pasta, didn't cook the kasha to mushiness (as is tradition), tossed it with well-caramelized onions, highest quality of extra virgin olive oil, freshly chopped parsley -- and sold it as a pasta salad to be eaten room temperature. Price: $16 a pound. It proved popular and quite profitable. And really, take my word on this: It's delicious this way.
The following recipe is from Rona Moulu, a professional chef with roots in Eastern Europe -- and also in Brooklyn, of course. It's the old-fashioned menas of making it, which is still very good.
2 cups beef broth
1 cup kasha
2 cups bow-shaped egg noodles
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1. In a small pan, warm the beef broth and set it aside.
2. In a small bowl, beat theegg slightly.
3. Heat a dry skillet that has a lid. Spoon in the kasha. Stir it, mashing, so as to toast and dry out the groats without burning them. Slowly add the warmed broth, stirring. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the kasha is tender. Set it aside in a warm place.
4. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain them and keep them warm.
5. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet. Cook the onion until soft and slightly brown.
6.Combine the onion, kasha, and noodles in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
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