Comfort Food Meets Nutrition
This delicious Savory Noodle Kugel Style Pasta is an effortless side dish that uses six essential items most households have on hand. If you take the extra step to brown the butter and infuse it with garlic, the reward is a nutty, rich taste. I developed this recipe years ago with help from a kugel recipe on the back of an egg noodles package. I never considered using cottage cheese with noodles or pasta, which intrigued me. Cottage cheese is a high-protein food, so I always keep it handy. It was a supplement when my children were growing up when they didn’t eat their dinner. Adding cottage cheese and vegetables to a pasta dish enhances its nutritional value.
What is Noodle Kugel?
A kugel or noodle kugel is a Jewish side dish consisting of egg noodles, sugar, eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, and sometimes raisins. The word kugel comes from the German word for ball or sphere. It is typical to bake it in a round casserole dish and serve it on Shabbat. Noodle kugel is also at Yom Kippur break fast, Rosh Hashana, or holidays that allow leavened wheat and dairy. During the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana also has a tradition of eating apples and honey; Crisp Apple Salad perfectly pairs with Savory Noodle Kugel. Watch this video for a traditional noodle kugel recipe from Howcast.
Enjoy this savory recipe version with egg noodles (left) or rotini pasta (pictured above).
Notes on Ingredients and Substitutions
I’ve altered the recipe considerably, which by no means dilutes the historical significance of this honored Jewish casserole by simplifying the ingredients, adding spinach, and eliminating the oven baking.
- Savory Noodle Kugel Style Pasta tastes fantastic on any noodle or pasta: egg noodles wide or narrow; rotini, including tri-colored and gluten-free pasta.
- Cottage cheese – I use 2% milkfat, and that’s what the nutritional values at the end of the recipe are using, but nonfat or 4% can be a substitute.
- Fresh garlic is best – you can use garlic from a jar, but the flavor will not be as vibrant.
- There is a step to brown the butter and infuse it with garlic. It takes a few extra minutes, but if time is limited, merely melt the butter and sauté garlic. Watch the video in the tip box below but don’t discard the garlic unless you want a subtle garlic flavor.
TIP: Brown Butter Infused with Garlic
Watch this video from The Stay at Home Chef to learn the nuances of browning butter. She discards the garlic, but I recommend adding the tasty bits to the pasta. If you brown the butter in a stainless-steel pan, you can see the color transformation. A nonstick or dark pan will make it challenging to know when the butter will brown.
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Savory Noodle Kugel Style Pasta
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
Savory Noodle Kugel Style Pasta – think Alfredo, only better. This creamy sauce results from a mixture of garlic-infused brown butter, cottage cheese, and Parmesan cheese, with a perfect amount of fresh spinach. The best part – the recipe is protein and veggie-packed. You will make this delicious kugel pasta over and over.
- 16-oz package egg noodles (wide or narrow) or rotini (traditional or gluten-free)*
- 4 Tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup cottage cheese, 2%**
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 5-oz package fresh baby spinach or 10-oz frozen. See notes***
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Make noodles or pasta according to package directions and drain.
- Make cheese sauce – while pasta cooks, combine cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese in a large serving bowl and allow to sit.
- Make garlic brown butter – In a medium stainless steel skillet or saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and stir until butter melts. Note: Pan must be large enough to hold spinach in step 4. Swirl the pan a few times and cook until butter foams. Add minced garlic and continue cooking. The color of the butter will change from yellow to tan and then to brown. Remove from heat once it reaches brown. Garlic bits will become slightly toasted.
- Add spinach to brown butter – combine fresh or previously frozen spinach that has been heated into the brown butter saucepan and cover the saucepan to wilt for 1 – 2 minutes over low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of water if needed and cook until water has evaporated.
- Combine butter and spinach into a serving bowl with cheese.
- Add drained pasta into the serving bowl with cheese and spinach and combine. Serve. This dish is excellent served hot or at room temperature.
* Tri-colored rotini also works.
** Cottage cheese – I use 2% milkfat but nonfat or 4% can be used. The nutritional values are based on 2%.
*** May use 10-oz frozen spinach; follow package directions to cook and add to the dish as you would fresh spinach.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 15
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Jewish and Italian
Keywords: Pork side dish; Jewish style noodle kugel side dish; Rosh Hashanah Recipe
5 responses to “Savory Noodle Kugel Style Pasta”
Very easy to make – used fresh spinach – excellent!
Fantastic combinations. Browning the butter was easy and I could never throw away garlic bits….so tasty! Thank you!
So glad I saw this – headed to grocery tonight – this sounds delicious!
So so delicious, I highly recommend. The cottage cheese is a game changer. It’s simple to make with ingredients I always have on hand so it has become a staple in this house. I like to make with chickpea pasta for a little extra protein and you’ve got yourself a healthy, comforting meal.
So glad you love this recipe and THANKS for sharing the pasta substitute tip!