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Kasha & Orzo with Portabellas 

"Kasha" is the Russian name for buckwheat, which is not a member of the wheat family as you might expect, making it a good alternative for people with wheat sensitivities. Botanically, kasha is a fruit, but in the world of food, we use it as a grain. Kasha, roasted buckwheat groats, is a protein- and vitamin-packed complex carbohydrate with a nutty flavor. This recipe is Moosewood's latest, quicker-to-prepare version of the Eastern European classic, kasha varnishkes.



Serves 4

3 cups chopped onions

2 large portabella mushrooms or 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped

2 tablespoons oilve oil

2 garlic cloves, minced and pressed

½ teaspoon dried thyme (2 teaspoons chopped fresh)

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg

½ cup kasha

½ cup orzo

2 cups boiling water

2 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper

sour cream

toasted walnuts


In a large saucepan or skillet on medium-high heat, cook the onions and mushrooms in the oil with the garlic, thyme, and salt until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.


In a bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the kasha, stir to coat well, and add to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until the egg is dry, making sure to separate any clumps of kasha. Add the orzo and the boiling water, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes.


When the kasha and orzo are tender, stir in the butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with sour cream and toasted walnuts.



Add a chopped red bell pepper to the onions and mushrooms after they've been cooking for about 5 minutes.


Almost any sautéed chopped vegetable can be incorprated into this dish--try whatever appeals to you or what you find in your refrigerator wating to be used up. Maybe carrots or zucchini, green peas, a leafy green, or even asparagus.


For a richer flavor, use half water and half vegetable broth. Omit the salt if the broth is salted.


TIME: 35 minutes


Reprinted with permission of Moosewood, Inc. from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers, Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York, NY 2005.








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