Kasha varnishkes is most definitely a Jewish dish that most non-Jews probably never even heard of …until they saw one of my all-time favorite Seinfeld episodes, the one where a rabbi who lived in Elaine’s building said to Elaine, “Would you like to come up to my apartment for some kasha varnishkes?” Larry David’s masterful and incomparable writing unveiled kasha varnishkes to mainstream America and the world. Well, I’ve been making kasha varnishkes for years, and I have an incredible recipe for it which came from my mother’s close friend, Chippy Linder. The first time I tasted Chippy’s kasha varnishkas, I knew I would have to learn how to make her recipe. I love to make this dish for my daughter Randi and her husband Dan, and for my mother and my son Benji. What really sets this recipe apart from others is the delicious taste of the fried onions and the texture of the miniature bowtie noodles. You may think this dish is hard to make, but it really is quite easy. Once you make it one time, you won’t need to open up another box of Cohen’s frozen kasha varnishkes or pay a lot of money for it at your local deli. Master this recipe and you will be on your way to becoming a real Jewish cook!
- 12 ounces (1 box Ronzoni miniature bowtie pasta- egg bows #138)
- 1- 13 oz. box Wolff’s medium or coarse kasha
- 2-3 pounds of onions
- 2 eggs
- corn, canola, or light olive oil
- reserved pasta water (from when you boil the bow ties)
- kosher salt
- lots of freshly ground black pepper
Dice onions by hand or using metal blade in food processor. Pour a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. Pour onions into pan, season with kosher salt and pepper, and fry onions over medium flame until well browned but not burned. Set aside pan with the fried onions.
In medium saucepan, put contents of box of kasha, a few dashes of kosher salt and about 10 grinds of cracked pepper. Crack 2 eggs into a small bowl, and then pour into the pan with the kasha. Turn heat to medium. Mix the kasha with the egg with a fork for a few minutes. The kasha will start to dry out. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until the egg has dried on the kasha and the kasha kernels are separate. Add about 3 cups of boiling or very hot water. Stir, and then cover pot and cook over very low flame for 10 minutes until kasha is tender and the liquid is absorbed. If you think the kasha looks too dry, add another 1/2 to 1 cup of water.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the miniature bowtie noodles according to package directions until just cooked. Drain in colander. Put the pasta in a very large mixing bowl. Add the cooked kasha and the fried diced onions. Mix, and add more salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add any leftover oil from the pan that you fried the onions in. If you think the kasha varnishkes are too dry, add one tablespoon of oil and a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Mix well. Serve hot.
Note 1: This makes about 3 -4 quarts. If you want to make a smaller quantity, just halve all the ingredients.
Note 2: You can make this 1 or 2 days in advance, and then heat in a bowl in the microwave. When you reheat, you may need to add a drop more oil if the kasha seems too dry and some extra salt and pepper to taste. You can also freeze leftovers in quart containers in the freezer.