Ultimate Kasha Varnishkes

This ain’t your bubbe’s kasha – this is kasha as a world-class dish. SY’s yiddishe parents tried it and pronounced it the best kasha they’d ever had.

1 oz dried porcini mushrooms (you can substitute dried Polish mushrooms)
1 cup hot water
olive oil
1 red onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1-1/4 cup roasted vegetable stock
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
pinch dried sage or 3-4 fresh sage leaves chiffonaded
1 cup kasha, uncooked, whole granules
1 egg
4 oz pot pie bow pasta, uncooked
2 quarts water
Italian parsley, chopped

Soak the dried mushrooms in the hot water for about 20-30 minutes or until reconstituted. Pour off about 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid into a cup or bowl, being careful to leave the grit behind. Remove the mushrooms, squeeze, then chop finely. Heat about 1 or 2 tbs of olive oil in a saucepan over a medium-high flame. Add the onion and carrot, then saute until they are softened and just barely beginning to brown.

Then add the chopped porcini. Saute for another two minutes, stirring frequently. Deglaze with the white wine, then add the stock and the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Bring to a simmer, then salt and pepper to taste.

In another bowl, lightly beat the egg, then add the kasha, stirring until the egg and kasha are thoroughly mixed. Heat a saute pan over medium-high flame, add 2 tbs of olive oil, then the egg-kasha mixture. Using a spatula, vigorously turn and chop the kasha until the egg has coated all the grains and they are separate and dry- you should get a definite toasted buckwheat aroma! Add the simmering stock, the bay leaf, and the sage, reduce the heat, and simmer covered for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.

While the kasha is simmering away, cook the bow tie pasta in at least 2 quarts of salted water until it’s al dente. Drain, then add to the cooked kasha. Mix thoroughly, cook for another minute or so, adjust seasoning, then serve. Garnish over the top of each portion with chopped parsley.

This dish is dyno-mite with a rich Alsace pinot gris or an earthy Loire cabernet franc- look for wines with pronounced earthy flavors. I haven’t tried it with a Vouvray moelleux, but I bet that would work.

Click to print this recipe as a PDF.