Kasha Varnishkes with Rainbow Chard
When I was young we spent holidays at my Aunt's house and someone always made Kasha Varnishkes (buckwheat and bowties). It turns out the dish originated from Ukrainian buckwheat stuffed dumplings: vareniki. It's the original comfort food! I added a little sautéed chard to give it some green. You can also top it with roasted vegetables. Traditionally it's made with onions but I didn't have any left so I used leek and shallot which was kind of nice! The dish is known to be a bit on the dry side so dress it up however you wish - originally they cooked this with chicken fat I believe. Salt and pepper is essential!
Serves 2 people
- 2-3 T olive oil, butter or ghee (I used ghee this time)
- 1/3 leek plus 1 shallot, brunoise, very small dice or minced (or replace both with one diced onion )
- 3/4 cup buckwheat groats, rinsed in a fine mesh stainer
- 1 1/4 cups water for cooking the buckwheat
- Bowtie pasta (or any pasta), about 1/2-2/3 box depending on the servings
- rainbow chard (or any kind of greens), stems removed, chiffonade or rough chop
- water for boiling the pasta
- salt/pepper to taste
- Boil water in a large pot for the pasta.
- Prepare the other pot with 1 1/4 cups water for the buckwheat groats.
- Heat the oil or butter in a large skillet and begin to sauté the leek/shallot (or onion) until almost translucent - add more oil if you need to.
- Meanwhile, rinse the buckwheat, and toast it in a dry cast iron skillet over low-medium heat for 4-5 min. moving around with a spatula or wooden spoon until golden brown. If you don't have a cast iron pan you can use any skillet. Some people add egg to the buckwheat but I haven't found it to be necessary.
- Add the toasted buckwheat to boiling water and cook, covered (on low flame) until fluffy. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork, cover again and set aside for ten minutes.
- Cook the pasta al dente, rinse, and set aside.
- Sautee the chopped chard in the same pan as the leeks/shallot (or onion).
- Add the cooked buckwheat and cooked pasta to the pan with the chard, a little salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Warm everything over a low flame and serve immediately. Garnish with some chopped parsley or whatever you like!