Friday, April 9, 2010

Not for Passover Noodle Kugel

This shiksa made a booboo on Passover and brought noodle kugel to dinner. I like to think it is rather endearing of me and thank god for forgiving in-laws. Apparently the fact that pasta dough is not leavened doesn’t matter. It’s still on the ‘do not invite to Passover dinner’ list. Most of the folks at Passover dinner this year could not in fact explain to me why pasta is not allowed aside from just knowing its just not. So, with that new information in hand, next year I will volunteer to make something more Passover appropriate and while I will likely be the butt of a few family jokes for eternity (though I’m not sure this tops my mother in law’s gefilte fish-matzo ball soup accident) at least I made my mark in a very A Girl and Her Kitchen way.

My religious faux pas aside, this turned out to be hands down the best kugel I have ever in my entire Jewish food eating life tasted.  I’m not sure there is a kugel out there better than this here dish. Now I had previously thought kugel was a noodle pudding. Obviously my recent Passover experience proves that wrong. Apparently a kugel is a casserole (which can also be made with matzo which most normal Passover cooks do for the holiday…ooppss). Duly noted.

If you have not had the pleasure of making or eating kugel, you are missing out. It’s a sweet or savory dish (I like sweet) made of (in my house) wide egg noodles, slightly sweet eggy custard doted with mild cheese, melted butter, and perfectly seasoned with lemon zest and nutmeg. It is baked until it is golden with a light sweet and crunchy crust around the edges and the custard has set. It is in a word divine. You must get on this right away, just don’t bring it to anyone’s house for Passover.  Though truth be told, while I am not naming names, a significant number of the husband’s family and friends gleefully met me out by the car where I doled out heaping helpings of my black market Passover unfriendly dish all of whom have been asking for the recipe ever since :).
Not for Passover Noodle Kugel
(Adapted from Smittenkitchen)

1 pound wide egg noodles
8 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar (if you like sweeter, add another 1/2 cup)
2 pounds full-fat cottage cheese, large curd
1 cup melted butter, unsalted
2 teaspoons good vanilla
Dash of salt (1/8 - 1/4 tsp)
zest of 1 lemon
1/8 - 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (depending on your like of nutmeg)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Parboil the noodles (five minutes).

In a very large bowl beat eggs until fluffy.

Add the sugar gradually, then the cottage cheese, butter, vanilla, lemon zest, salt and nutmeg.
Stir in the drained noodles. Pour into a 9x13-inch pan. (No need to grease it...there's a ton of butter in there already.)
Bake for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours, until custard is set. Note: Your baking time may, of course, vary. Check for doneness at one hour and go from there. Enjoy warm, room temp or cold!!

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