Tarhonya is small dried Hungarian egg pasta similar to couscous. It’s browned in butter giving it a nutty flavor before cooking in broth and served as a side dish with stews, meats, paprikash and sausage. Available in some supermarkets in the pasta section or in stores that specialize in European pantry staples it’s a nice change from the usual potato or rice side dish to accompany heartier winter dishes that feature lots of sauce or gravy.

The basic cooking method follows and is delicious served plain just topped with a pat of butter and lots of fresh cracked black pepper, but add-ins such as ½ cup of finely chopped onions, mushrooms or any other vegetable can be added near the end of the browning process before adding the broth. Chopped fresh herbs (parsley is very good) and garlic are also common additions. 

1 cup tarhonya

2 tablespoons butter

1½ to 2 cups chicken broth 

Brown the tarhonya in butter until golden brown over medium-low heat stirring frequently to avoid scorching.

Add enough broth to slightly cover the pasta, stir and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer stirring occasionally. The tarhonya should absorb all of the liquid and become tender, but not sticky or mushy. Add a small amount of additional liquid as needed until tender. When cooked through, remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes before serving. 

Serves 4

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