This recipe brings back a lot of childhood memories for me (thanks to my Mom who was a great cook and teacher). It involves two ingredients that are not commonly used: bow tie shaped pasta and buckwheat groats (kasha in Yiddish). Buckwheat has been cultivated for centuries in Europe and was one of the first crops brought by Europeans to North America, particularly by Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants that called it kasha. Buckwheat is gluten free.
Method to make Kasha and Bows: In a large frying pan on medium-low heat, combine buckwheat with egg and 1 tsp salt. Stir constantly until all the grains are dry and separate (about 3 to 5 minutes). Add the boiling water, stir and cover. Cook on medium heat until all the water is absorbed, about 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside. Heat up frying pan on medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil and heat oil. Add onions and mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned (about 2 to 5 minutes). Set aside. Cook pasta as per the instructions below. Drain pasta. To cooked kasha, add pasta, sautéed onions and mushrooms and 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil or unsalted butter. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish serving bowl or plates with chopped fresh parsley. Serve as a main course or as a side dish. Add a salad and rustic bread and you’ve got a complete meal.
Note on Cooking Pasta: To cook 250 grams or 1/2 a pound of pasta: bring two litres of water to a boil. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp olive oil and pasta. Reduce heat so that water is at a rolling boil (but doesn’t boil over) and stir occasionally. Fresh pasta will take 3 to 5 minutes to cook and dry pasta about 8 to 10. Always cook pasta ‘al dente’ or firm to the bite. Drain and place back in the pot. If not using right away, toss a bit of olive oil into the pasta to prevent it from sticking.
*Buckwheat/buckwheat groats can be purchased at most health food stores. Andy’s IGA on 142 Street has it toasted in fine and medium granulation as well as whole groats.