Though the name of this soul-satisfying dish may be foreign--Kasha is buckwheat or groats, and "Varnishkes" is Yiddish for bow-shaped noodles--its taste is comfortably familiar. Kasha originally hails from Asia, but its versatility and ease of preparation helped it find its way into far-ranging cuisines. In Russia, ground buckwheat is used in blini, the pancakes which are a traditional accompaniment to caviar. In Japan, buckwheat is used to make soba noodles. This kasha recipe, while humble in its origins, is crowd-pleasing comfort food.
1 cupkasha 1egg 1large onion, diced 1 teaspoonsalt 2 Tablespoonscanola oil 1 cupegg bowtie pasta (wheat pasta is an acceptable substitute) 2 cupslow sodium chicken broth or water 1/4 teaspoonfresh ground pepper, or more to taste
Heat oil in a 3- or 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Sautee onions until golden and edges are slightly charred, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer from saucepan to a plate, scraping as much of the onion from the saucepan as possible.
While onions are cooking, cook pasta according to package directions, drain and reserve. Beat egg in a small bowl. Add kasha and stir until kasha is well coated with egg. In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat kasha over medium heat, stirring constantly, until egg is cooked away and kasha separates into individual grains.
Add chicken broth or water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook until kasha absorbs liquid, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove cover, add onions and pasta, recover, and let sit an additional 10 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Adeena Sussman is a food writer and chef based in New York. She writes the bimonthly food column "Season to Taste" for Hadassah Magazine.