Gluten-Free Kasha Varnishkas
How does a gluten-free girl handle a hankering for the Ashkenazic (Eastern European) kasha varnishkas? Despite the growing selection of gluten-free pastas on the supermarket shelves, the bowtie-shaped noodle traditional to this dish is not yet among them. So, after much trial and error, I’ve landed on gluten-free elbows. They have a similar mouth feel and texture to the traditional bow ties and if I close my eyes, I am back in my mother’s kitchen gobbling up her traditional kasha varnishkas. (And, because so many people have asked, these are my favorite elbow noodles. You can find them in most supermarkets.)
- 1 egg or egg substitute
- 1 cup buckwheat groats
- 1 tablespoon mild-tasting oil
- 2 large sweet onions, sliced
- 2 cups water or vegetable stock, brought to a simmer
- 2 cups broccoli florets (optional)
- 1 8-ounce package gluten-free elbow noodles, cooked according to the package directions
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the buckwheat and coat with the egg. Heat a large sauté pan and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions, and turn the heat to low. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté the onions until they are soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Turn up the heat and cook for another minute or two, until the onions are lightly caramelized. Transfer the onions to a large bowl.
- Add the buckwheat and egg mixture to the same pan you cooked the onions in. Stir until the pan is dry and the buckwheat kernels are lightly toasted. Add the water or stock. (If using water, be sure to salt the water). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the kernels are soft, but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. If using broccoli, add it to the pan for the last 8 minutes so it steams gently. Salt to taste. Add the buckwheat to the bowl with the onions, then add the cooked pasta and parsley. Stir until mixed evenly. Serve immediately.