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Kasha Varnishkes
Kasha Varnishkes

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups kasha (buckwheat groats)
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons rendered chicken fat (you may substitute canola or safflower oil)
2 medium red onions, finely diced
1/2pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced thin
3 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups farfalle (bow-tie pasta) (about 1/4 pound)
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives

Directions:
1. Stir the kasha and eggs together with a fork in a small bowl.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat, and cook the kasha mixture, stirring constantly, until the eggs have dried and the kasha grains are separated, about 5 minutes. Transfer the kasha mixture to a bowl.
3. Heat the fat or the oil in the same skillet, wiped clean, over moderately high heat. Add the red onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Reserve.
4. Bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in the kasha mixture and bring to a boil. Season stock to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until kasha is tender.
5. While kasha is cooking, cook farfalle in
a large kettle of boiling salted water for about 8 minutes, or until al dente, and drain. Stir farfalle and reserved mushroom mixture into cooked kasha, add parsley, and let stand, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Place on a platter and serve hot sprinkled with chives.

This combination of kasha and noodles came to America by way of the Eastern European shtetl, where it once provided a cheap, nutritionally balanced meal. Today, of course, it's usually served as a side dish to the main course. Originally, fresh, flat noodles were used-but the standard in America is bow-tie noodles out of a box; in fact, it wouldn't seem like kasha varnishkes without the bow-ties. This version is even further from the shtetl, because it contains such upscale ingredients as red onions, shiitake mushrooms and chives. So who's complaining? It still tastes authentic, and it is the most delicious version we've ever tasted. If you've never had this wonderful, nutty-tasting ethnic treat, there's no time like the present... Serves 8 as a side dish