The first time I ever cooked something (baking doesn’t count) that made someone say “Wow! This is good! What on earth is this and how do you make it?” was when I made Kasha Varnishkas for my roommate, Kim, in college. Now I think I managed to screw that one up by adding about 6 cloves are garlic (I learned), but I think Kim saw the hope. She has since begun cooking this dish for herself (and her husband) and it makes me proud to hear. I have actually been trying to make it lately, however, the grocery store near my apartment doesn’t carry Kasha (boo!) When Kim heard of this problem, she sent me a surprise package of Kasha all the way from the Pittsburgh suburbs. Thanks Kim! It arrived on Monday morning and I cooked it Monday night.
Now I don’t make kasha in the way that Jewish delis make kasha. This was the first recipe I ever really experimented with. Rather than follow the directions on the box, I decided first to add garlic. Then the next round I added onions. Then next time it was mushrooms. It was slowly getting there. Then I did an experiment that revolutionized kasha (to me and the family anyway). I added cream of mushroom soup. V’oila! Sara’s Kasha was born.
The pictures look pretty bland, but it’s delicious. I like it alone as a meal, but some people would probably prefer it as a side dish. Added benefit: Kasha is pretty healthy! It’s a whole grain (buckwheat), low in fat, and gluten free. You can add other veggies into the browning process or grilled chicken, but I like it pretty basic. Maybe it’s nostalgia…
- Varnishkas, I believe, is just bow-tie pasta. So buy a box and cook it up!
- Kasha (Wolf’s brand is good and the only kind I’ve ever seen in normal grocery stores, and I prefer the large grain, though fine is good too)
- Egg (check recipe on the box… some require egg and some don’t)
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup of fresh mushrooms or 1 small can of mushrooms
- 1 can of 98% Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Condensed Soup
- Cook Kasha per the recipe on the box (about 10 minutes)
- Cook Pasta per recipe on the box (start pasta pending how long it takes to cook)
- While the Kasha is cooking, brown onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil.
- Toss in mushrooms and cream of mushroom soup into the onion and garlic towards end of cooking time for Kasha, just to warm
- When kasha is done, fold in soup mixture
- Toss with pasta and serve (I recommend with salt)