8 Days of Hanukkah = 8 Days of Kugel

Traditionally served on the Sabbath, noodle kugel is a very popular dish served during the Jewish holidays. What’s so great is that it can be served as a savory side or as a totally decadent dessert. This warm baked pudding is generally made with egg noodles and various mix-ins, like cheesy veggies or sweet dried fruits. After some time spent in the oven, the top becomes crisp and crunchy, while the inside remains a soft, spoonable custard. We’ve rounded up eight (for each night of Hanukkah, obviously) great kugel recipes, covering both savory and sweet. Get yourself some noodles, and start cooking.

ps. need latkes, too? Here are eight more recipes.

Mushroom and leeks

Aromatic leeks and an earthy medley of mushrooms makes for a super flavorful savory kugel that’s perfect as a hearty side dish or veggie main.

7 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the baking dish
10 ounces large white mushrooms, cut into thin slices
8 ounces mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake and oyster, stemmed and cut into thin slices
2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for the noodles’ cooking water
3 medium leeks, trimmed, cut in 1/4-inch dice and soaked in cold water, then patted dry
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound wide egg noodles

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers (about 2 minutes). Add the mushrooms; sprinkle with the thyme and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until the mushrooms brown and start to soften. Transfer to a large plate.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet; when it is hot, add the leeks and sprinkle them with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened and translucent. Add the broth and cook, scraping to dislodge any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles. Stir a few teaspoons of salt into the boiling water. Add the pasta and cook, stirring, until it becomes just barely tender (remember, it’s going to bake more in the oven), about 10 minutes. Drain well under cold running water until the pasta cools slightly, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Use a little oil to grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add the mushrooms, leeks, black pepper and 2 tablespoons of the oil to the pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the baking dish, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

One hour before serving, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Let the kugel sit at room temperature while the oven heats (at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour). Cover tightly with foil and bake for 15 minutes to thoroughly heat through, then uncover and bake for about 15 minutes, until the top browns and becomes crisp. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Everything bagel

Capitalizing on the everything bagel flavor trend, this aromatic noodle kugel has it all. Sweet and savory caramelized onions and the crunchy poppy seeds make for the perfect combo.

Cacio e Pepe

The flavors of one of our absolute favorite pasta dishes (see: this recipe) inspired this kugel dish, bound to wow any lucky dinner guest.

2 pounds ricotta, whipped in a food processor or stand mixer until smooth
1 pound mascarpone
3 cups Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 pounds dried linguine, fettuccine or spaghetti
1 tablespoon butter

Heat the oven to 350ºF. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously season with salt.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, mascarpone and 2 cups of the pecorino. Stir well to combine. Stir in the salt and black pepper. Place the pasta in the water and cook until just barely al dente, about 6 minutes. (The pasta will finish cooking in the casserole.) Drain and transfer it to the seasoned cheese mixture, stirring to coat the pasta.

Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with the butter. Transfer the pasta-cheese mixture to the baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake until the top and sides are crispy and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle with more black pepper for garnish, cut into squares, and serve.

Brisket and potato

This hearty meat and potato dish features fall-apart tender beef brisket cooked in tomato paste, brown sugar, and garlic, sandwiched in between layers of potato. This one definitely deserves a main course spot.

Vanilla wafer

The fragrant flavor of vanilla runs throughout this kugel, which is finished with a buttery cookie topping.

1 cup prepared vanilla pudding
1 pound egg noodles
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup lowfat sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces vanilla wafer cookies (2 cup crumbs)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Take cream cheese out of the refrigerator to let it soften. Prepare pudding per pkg directions and chill till soft set (thickened, but it doesn’t need to be completely firm). Preheat oven to 350.

Boil the egg noodles per pkg directions until they reach al dente texture. Drain and rinse w cold water til noodles are cool. Drain again.

Use electric mixer to cream together cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs and mix again until blended. Add pudding, milk, sour cream, vanilla and salt. Mix on med-high until well blended.
Pour noodles into liquid mixture. Stir to combine noodles and liquid making sure all noodles are covered in liquid and no noodle clumps have formed.

Pour noodle mixture into greased casserole or baking dish. Crush vanilla wafer cookies to a crumbly texture. Place crumbs in small mixing bowl. Add sugar, cinnamon and melted butter to crumbs. Mix w fork until all crumbs are evenly moistened by the butter. Sprinkle the topping across the top of the kugel. Cook for 1 hr 15 min.

Dried cherries

Corn flakes and dried cherries add crunch and tanginess to this classic take on kugel, which would make a great dessert (or even a decadent breakfast!).

Apple raisin

Whether you use sweeter or more tart apples, this seasonal kugel is totally delicious. Studded with raisins and flavored with rum and nutmeg, it’s basically the holidays in kugel form.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 apples, cored and cut in small dice
6 ounces flat egg noodles, preferably whole-grain
¼ cup raisins
4 eggs
¼ cup raw brown sugar or dark brown sugar
1 cup drained yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Begin heating a large pot of water.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the apples. Cook, stirring or tossing in the pan, until they begin to color and are slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

When the water comes to a boil, add salt to taste and the noodles. Cook al dente, a little firmer than you would want them if you were eating them right away. Drain through a colander and add to the pan with the apples (if using long flat noodles, cut them first with a scissors into shorter lengths). Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and toss together until the butter melts. Stir in the optional raisins. Set aside.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the sugar and beat together until the mixture is thick. Beat in the yogurt, vanilla, rum, nutmeg and about 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste. Add the noodles and apples and fold everything together. Scrape into the prepared baking dish. Push the pasta down into the egg and yogurt mixture (it will not be completely submerged, but try to cover as much as you can). Place in the oven and bake 40 to 45 minutes, until the kugel is set and the sides are browned. There will always be some noodles on top that brown and become quite hard. You can remove these from the baked dish if you wish. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Orange currant

Orange zest and apples add sweet flavor to this kugel, which also boasts vanilla, cinnamon, and crunchy almonds on top.

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