If casseroles are a standard American desperation dish (see here, here or here), then kugels are their European counterpart. That’s not to say that they’re lacking whatsoever, but they do encourage that “use what you have” mentality.
Consider the fact that kugel originally contained bread as the primary starch, and it wasn’t typically a sweet dish until about 400 years ago. (That’s a relatively recent transition- People have been consuming kugel of some variety for over 800 years).
When times are tough, adjustments must be made. Old trends are adapted; people learn to work with what they have. Many classic recipes have been invented this way: meatloaf, “wacky cake“, several types of chowder, and of course the kugels of late.
The beauty of kugel is that it’s customizable. Custom-shit is my shit.
Like those chunky home phones you could decorate with rhinestones and feather boas.*
Or vegan leather journals filled with pages of your choosing. (Get your name emblazoned on there for extra oomph.)
You’re an individual. Why shouldn’t your phone/denim/journal/Euro casserole be too?
In an attempt to cut down on food waste and save cold, hard cash, I resorted to the depths of my pantry for this recipe. On hand, I had spaetzle (stand-in for egg noodles), ricotta (a creamy binder to replace eggs), and spiced rum (for good measure).
I threw it all together and what did I get? An easy meal that my taste-testers raved about for weeks to come.
- 1 package spaetzle (or vegan spaetzle)
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup spiced rum
- 3 cups ricotta (or vegan ricotta)
- 1/4 cup Stevia baking blend or sweetener of choice (adjust amount accordingly)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Cook spaetzle according to package directions
- Meanwhile, soak raisins in rum and set aside
- Combine remaining ingredients in mixing bowl and beat until smooth
- Drain spaetzle and fold into ricotta mixture
- Spread evenly into greased baking dish
- Bake for 45 minutes (or until dish is firm/passes the toothpick test)
Like I said, mix it up if you like. Don’t like Stevia? Use some other sweetener, or omit entirely. Don’t have raisins on hand? Maybe chopped nuts (or chocolate chips?? or crushed potato chips???) would add an interesting texture.
Let me know what you think of the recipe, or how you plan to make it your own.
*P.S. does anyone remember these? I know I have mine laying around somewhere- will post crucial pics when found.