Noodle Kugel with Ricotta and Apricots
Imagine this: You're a little kid again and it's some big holiday. The kind of holiday where your mum makes you put on an uncomfortable dress (with even more uncomfortable tights underneath) and forces your hair into being somewhat presentable. You pile into the car with your whole family and go to synagogue where you will sit still for the next million hours (or so it seems) and listen to grown-ups drone on and on and on... You're bored to tears and it's the actual worst.
But in the back of your head, you know it's going to be worth it. Why? Because if you can make it through this day - this stupid day filled with longwinded speeches and pinchy dress shoes, this day where you're desperately trying to not squirm, or fall asleep, or catch your sister's eye and fall into a fit of giggles - there is the promise of a meal. And at that meal, there just may be the side dish to end all side dishes, the part of the meal that tastes like dessert but isn't - there may just be noodle kugel.
For the poor unfortunate souls who didn't grow up eating noodle kugel, first of all, I'm sorry that you've been denied one of the best things in the world. Second of all, I understand that when you read the ingredients, it probably sounds kind of weird - sugar, eggs, sour cream, fruit... and noodles? I get it. But believe me, it's the best kind-of-weird thing you'll have ever put in your mouth. Kugel is traditionally a served as a side dish, but it's also great for breakfast, for a snack... or, like, literally whenever. And bonus: it's insanely easy to make.
There are many different versions of kugel - including savory versions that have things like potatoes - but sweet noodle kugel is by far my favorite. My mum's kugel uses golden raisins and Granny Smith apples, but lately I've been substituting those for dried apricots. Use whatever fruit tickles your fancy, and go to town on this bad boy. Welcome to the world of noodle kugel, kids.
1/2 lb. wide egg noodles (although I've been known to use whatever pasta I have lying around in a pinch)
1 lb. whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup sour cream (you can substitute whole milk greek yogurt if you'd like)
1/4 lb. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup dried apricots, diced
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
butter for greasing baking pan
-Preheat the oven to 350°F.
-Boil the noodles until al dente, and drain.
-In a large mixing bowl, combine drained noodles and remaining ingredients and toss well.
-Transfer the mixture to a buttered 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish, and bake 40 minutes, uncovered.
-Cover with foil and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
-Remove from oven and let cool before cutting into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.