18 March 2009

Kasha Varnishkes, Food of the Gods

George tells me that technically, "food of the gods" refers to cacao, and I'm not going to argue with that. To be honest, I don't know anyone who feels such overwhelming well-being and comfort from kasha varnishkes as I do. I think my time in Japan and my adoption there of soba noodles as an all-time favorite food really influenced the way I feel about this dish. Also, I was practically raised on pasta, and at my grocery store I found an unusually excellent brand of bow tie noodles, Mantova. Add to all these associations my lifelong habit of adding carmelized onions to sandwiches when I want to be fancy, and you have a trifecta of Sarah-friendly foods.

I got this recipe from Mark Bittman, who got it from his Jewish mother. I didn't try making it until my Jewish mother called me up and told me to. I don't know why I ever waited so long.

You can make this recipe the long stupid way or the short way. The first time I made it the long way, but that's behind me now, and I've blocked it from my memory.

Kasha Varnishkes

1 lb. high quality bow tie pasta or farfalle (I like Mantova)
olive oil
1 Cup kasha (you can find it in the Jewish foods section)
1 egg, beaten, with salt added
2 large onions or 1 elephantine onion, sliced small
2 Cups No-Chicken broth or flavorful vegetable broth

1) First, heat olive oil on low. When fragrant, add onions and start slowly sauteeing. They'll be done when golden brown, oozy and sticky.
2) Put on a medium pot of water to boil for the pasta. Add some salt to raise the boiling point. When it boils, add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain and toss with butter.
3) Mix kasha with egg. Heat a very large pot with a lid. Toast the kasha for 3 minutes until fragrant. Add broth. Cover with lid and turn heat down to low. When all the liquid is absorbed (about 10 to 15 minutes), turn off the heat.
4) Add onions and pasta to kasha. Mix. Adjust salt to taste and serve hot and gorgeous.

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