For a good number of years now, in the early part of March, the text goes out to the son who lives in Brooklyn, “Hey! Can you get some of those fine Passover noodles for the kugel? xoxo Mom.”
There are probably as many kugel recipes as there are cooks. Among the recipes in the box I inherited full of recipes from my grandmother, my mother, and my aunt, there’s one version with raisins, another with mushrooms, and a third with Velveeta.
Essentially, a kugel is a type of casserole in Jewish cuisine, a baked pudding of a sort. It can be sweet or savory, and many are heavy on the dairy (which means, for someone who keeps kosher, it cannot be served with a meal containing meat), but some, such as one called Jerusalem kugel, or many of those with potatoes, are called parve which means they can be served with either a meat or dairy meal. Often kugels are made with noodles, a product generally not permitted during Passover (seven or eight days, depending on one’s family tradition) because they contain regular flour. As a consequence, most kugels served at Passover are made with potato.
When my husband and I began celebrating the holidays together, he asked to borrow my blender for a noodle kugel his family had been making for some time. (If I remember correctly, the first time he used my blender, he removed the vessel from the base incorrectly and the entire batch ended up on the counter and the floor.) We make a regular version with fine egg noodles for Rosh Hashanah, and a Passover version with what I call “fake” noodles that are kosher for Passover that contain potato starch instead of flour. While it’s not too difficult to find the medium or wide Passover noodles, the fine noodles are much harder to acquire, thus the annual request to the child who lives in Brooklyn!
What I love about this dish is that it is sweet and rich, making it feel festive, but it puffs up as it cooks, so it feels light. And it’s really quite easy! We usually have a sizable group for Passover and make two of these, in two separate casserole dishes, and if there is any left over, it can be reheated easily in the microwave. I have even put individual portions in the freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap and sealed in a zipper bag, and even from frozen it reheats well.
What's the secret to good matzo ball soup? According to Danny Osman, owner of Dream Away Lodge in Becket, Mass., it's all about what the soup truly is at its most basic — good chicken soup."A good chicken soup is a good chicken soup.
NOODLE KUGEL SOUFFLÉ
6 ounces fine egg noodles or fine kosher-for-Passover noodles
4 eggs at room temperature
4 ounces butter, cut into small pieces and allowed to softened
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces and allowed to softened
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a deep casserole dish.
Cook the noodles a minute or two less than the package directions. Drain well, rinse lightly with cold water to stop the cooking process, and shake the colander to remove excess liquid. Place in the greased casserole dish.
Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender. Mix for 4 full minutes. Pour the mixture over the noodles and stir lightly to incorporate.
Bake for 70-75 minutes, until puffed, firm, and beginning to brown on the edges. Serve warm.