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Kasha Varnishkes
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Start to finish: 30 minutes/Servings: 6

2 cups bow tie pasta

1/2 ounce dry porcini mushrooms

1/2 cup schmaltz or butter, divided

2 cups chopped yellow onions

1 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 cup kasha, preferably coarse

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 cup chicken stock

2 bunches baby leeks, cut into 1/2-inch lengths (or 1 regular leek, diced)

1/2 pound veal or beef bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, cooked until crisp

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl soak the porcini mushrooms in 3/4 cup of warm water for 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, retaining the soaking water, then mince and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium-high, melt 1/4 cup of the schmaltz or butter. Add the onions and salt, then sauté until well browned. Add mushrooms and garlic, then cook for 1 minute. Add the kasha, pepper and thyme, then cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the stock, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the remaining schmaltz or butter. Add the leeks, reserved mushroom water, and bacon, if using, then saute until the leeks are tender.

In a large serving bowl, toss the pasta with the kasha mixture. Spoon the leek and bacon mixture over it, then garnish with chopped parsley.

Recipe adapted from Mark Spangenthal of Kutcher’s Tribeca restaurant in New York City

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