Kluski z Makiem (Noodles with Poppy Seeds)

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noodles and poppy seeds
Kluski z Makiem. What’s that? Read on!

We were browsing through Polish Classic Recipes, by Laura and Peter Zeranski, the other day when we were looking for new ideas for dinner, and this recipe stood out. We occasionally make our version of pasta and poppy seeds, but ours is just that: pasta, a bit of butter, and poppy seeds. This one promised more. It included raisins and honey. Interesting, right? We had to scratch up a batch to try.

Since we’ve made this dish, we modified the recipe from the original into what we think will be a better dish, and we’d really suggest our version. But, if you want to try the original, just increase the amount of raisins to a full cup, and the honey to 2 tablespoons.

Serves 2 as a main 4 as sides.

Kluski z Makiem (Noodles with Poppy Seeds)

Kluski z Makiem (Noodles with Poppy Seeds)

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 batch basic pasta dough, rolled and cut into 2x1 inch strips, or 8 ounces egg noodles
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

Abbreviated Instructions

Place poppy seeds in a small heatproof bowl. Cover with 3/4 cup boiling water. Let stand 3 hours. Drain.

Place raisins in a small heatproof bowl. Cover with 3/4 cup boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain.

Boil pasta according to directions on package (for fresh pasta, boil 1 to 2 minutes, or until al dente).

In a large skillet over low heat, stir together poppy seeds, honey, and vanilla extract. Bring to a simmer.

Add cooked pasta, raisins, and butter, stir until coated and butter is melted.

http://scratchinit.halversen.com/2014/01/kluski-z-makiem-noodles-with-poppy-seeds/

Ingredient discussion:

If you’re using vanilla extract, it should always be pure. Imitation flavoring lacks the nuances that real extract has. For the poppy seeds: we buy poppy seeds at Penzey’s Spices; they’re a better deal than the little jars at the grocery store. Fresh pasta isn’t so hard to make, and, if you haven’t tried it, you should. It’s the one thing we really recommend for improving your pasta dishes. Finally, the raisins: we use organic because grapes are a heavy user of pesticides, and organic raisins only cost about fifty cents more per pound than ordinary raisins.

Procedure in detail:

soaking poppy seeds
We don’t think that soaking the poppy seeds made much of a difference in the final dish. Do it if you want, or not; your choice.

Soak poppy seeds. We used a small measuring cup to hold the poppy seeds while they soaked, but any heatproof container will do. Place the seeds in your container and cover with boiling water. We suggest 3/4 of a cup, but the amount isn’t critical, just so the seeds are covered. Let the seeds stand 3 hours.

draining poppy seeds
If you do soak the seeds, it’s easy to drain them with an arrangement of a funnel and coffee filter set inside a glass.

Drain poppy seeds. We set a coffee filter in a funnel to drain the seeds, but a clean, lightweight piece of cloth will do, also. Once drained, set aside.

soaking raisins
The raisins should be soaked to make them plump and tender. Cut the butter into small cubes so it melts quickly.

Soak raisins. Place the raisins in a small heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water, about 3/4 of a cup. Let stand for about 30 minutes to plump a bit.

draining raisins
We just drain the raisins in a colander, then we pour the boiled pasta over to drain, too. It starts heating the raisins, making final assembly of the dish faster.

Drain raisins. Since raisins are larger than poppy seeds, you can use a colander to drain them. We just left the raisins in the colander while we cooked the pasta, knowing that we could drain the pasta over the raisins and the boiling water would reheat them a bit before adding to the main dish.

Boil pasta. If you’re using fresh pasta, this will take just a minute or two, whereas dried pasta will probably take over 10 minutes. Keep the timing in mind as you do the next step while the pasta is boiling.

Heat poppy seeds. In a large skillet over medium heat, stir together the poppy seeds, honey, and vanilla extract. Keep stirring while the mixture comes to a simmer, about 3 minutes. If your pasta is not quite done at this stage, lower the heat to keep the poppy seeds warm.

noodles and poppy seeds
Add the pasta, raisins, and butter pieces, stir and heat until everything is well-coated and hot.

Finish dish. Drain the pasta (over the raisins, if desired), and add pasta, raisins, and butter to the poppy seed mixture. Stir to coat, and continue stirring until the butter melts and everything is heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes.

noodles and poppy seeds
Serve immediately so the pasta doesn’t become over-cooked and mushy. No one likes mushy pasta.

Serve immediately.

 

We were disappointed in the original incarnation of this dish. Far, far too many raisins for the amount of pasta. We think that, if you use raisins in a savory dish (we think they’re under- utilized) they should play a supporting role, not be the star as they were in this dish. Same with the honey; using the original amount of honey called for made this dish too sweet, in our opinion, ruining a good dish. Our ingredients list represents what we think are better amounts. Also, soaking the poppy seeds seems like overkill. We’ve had poppy seeds over pasta without soaking, and we think that anyone would be hard-pressed to know the difference, so, if you’re pressed for time, just use them without soaking. We’ll give this dish three stars as is, but think that our changes should make it better.

Worth the trouble?

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