Kugel seems to come in two varieties. Boring noodle and boring potato. If there was ever a dish that cried out for a makeover like a Long Island mall rat it’s the kugel. My thinking about kugel started a few weeks ago when I made a nice veggie lasagna for a synagogue pot-luck. Its always heartening to see your dish empty after dinner, but I suspect any carb would have done well amongst the myriad tossed salads on offer. But I got to thinking, is there a Jewish equivalent for lasagna? I started rooting through my cookbooks and learned that there is a theory that Jews brought pasta to central Europe from Italy. That might be, but I think we should have stayed in Italy until we mastered cheese making. I found a lot of uses for ribbon egg noodles but there was nothing that called for the bigger sheets of pasta used in a lasagna.
When I read the many recipes available for kugel the recurring theme was that most kugels were still firmly anchored in the poverty of the past. Somehow in the trend of updating knishes with smoked salmon and coming up with even more extreme versions of the deli sandwich the kugel got left on the side of the road. I decided to change that armed with a version of baked mac & cheese from Gourmet that I had made for co-workers last year. A word of warning, this one is complicated and I had to write my steps down (unusual for me) to keep everything straight. My suggestion, read the instructions before you start the test.
Recipe after the break.