Kasha Varnishkes (Buckwheat Groats with Bowtie Pasta) Recipe

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  • 35 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings kasha varnishkes

Kasha, or buckwheat groats, are cooked with onions and chicken stock, then mixed with bowtie pasta (known as farfalle in Italian) for a classic Ashkenazi Jewish dish.

This was traditional comfort food for Russian Jews, brought to America by immigrants. It continues to be a favorite on the Lower East Side of New York City, as well as across the United States.

In addition to being a touchstone with grandmother's cooking, this is a great source of fiber, perfect for a side dish or vegetarian main course.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup kasha buckwheat groats, medium granulation
  • 1 large well-beaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat (schmalz) or vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups homemade or canned chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup bowtie pasta

How to Make It

  1.  In a small bowl, mix the kasha with the beaten egg. Be sure all the kasha grains are covered with egg.
  2. Place a medium nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the kasha to the pan and, using a wooden fork, flatten it out a bit, stirring and moving it around the pan until the egg dries and the grains have mostly separated. Set aside.
  3. Place a pot of salted water on to boil for the bowtie pasta but don't cook it yet.
  1. In a 4-quart heavy stovetop covered casserole, heat the chicken fat or oil and sauté the onions until translucent.
  2. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the salt and pepper and the reserved kasha. Stir a bit and cover. Cook over low heat, stirring now and then until the kasha is tender, about 10 minutes. If it is not done to your taste, cook for a few more minutes.
  3. In the meantime, boil the pasta just until tender. Drain well and stir into the kasha. Serve hot.

Source: "The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors" by Jeff Smith (Wm Morrow & Co, Inc.)

More Recipes Using Kasha or Buckwheat Groats

  • Kasha with Mandarin Oranges and Raisins Recipe: This delicious blend makes a perfect side dish for just about any roast meat or poultry. It's also a good vegetarian main-course option.
  • Kasha-Mushroom Knishes RecipeFlaky sour-cream dough envelops a kasha-mushroom filling in these baked pockets known as knishes.
  • Kasha-Filled Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe This Ukrainian take on stuffed cabbage features a vegetarian filling made with unroasted buckwheat, onion, and grated potato.
  • Russian Blini Recipe When buckwheat is turned into flour it is one of the components of mini Russian pancakes known as blini that are served with caviar and other toppings for Pancake Week or Maslenitsa.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 438
Total Fat 15 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Unsaturated Fat 8 g
Cholesterol 226 mg
Sodium 402 mg
Carbohydrates 59 g
Dietary Fiber 6 g
Protein 20 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)