2 cups bow-tie pasta
½ ounce dry porcini mushrooms
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½ cup schmaltz or butter, divided
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon 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 ½-inch lengths (or 1 regular leek, diced)
½ pound veal or beef bacon, cut into ½-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 ¾ 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 ¼ 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.
Nutrition values per serving: 500 calories, 28 g fat (13 g saturated), 47 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 20 g protein, 80 mg cholesterol, 1,890 mg sodium.
Adapted from Mark Spangenthal, Kutcher's Tribeca restaurant, New York City