Jake Cohen’s Kugel and Cheese
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We know it’s only March, but we think Jake Cohen’s new cookbook, Jew-ish, might be our favorite of the year. It’s an enticing collection of modern Jewish recipes, yes, but it’s also funny, sweet and drool-inducing. We’re making his kugel and cheese—a play on mac and cheese—first.
“I love noodle kugel,” Cohen writes, “and I’m not ashamed of it. It’s a dairy-packed dish that doesn’t know if it’s a side or a dessert. As a kid, how couldn’t you love an excuse to eat dessert with dinner? As an adult, the tables have turned. If I’m cooking a meal, I want every dish to work together, and somehow the thought of brisket and sweet noodle kugel on the same plate just makes me gag. So welcome to my whimsical world of modern kugel, where I break all the rules to get my peers hyped about Jewish casseroles.
“With a base of cottage cheese, sour cream and eggs,” he continues, “kugel can venture in whatever direction you want. Toss in mounds of grated Gruyère and cheddar for a Jewish mac and cheese that my husband accurately describes as 'dank.'”
Strapped for time? Cohen’s kugel can be assembled and baked a few hours in advance, then set aside until you’re ready to serve—all you’ll have to do is reheat.
Excerpted from Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch © 2021 by Jake Cohen. Photography © 2021 by Matt Taylor-Gross. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
8 ounces Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated
2 cups full-fat cottage cheese
1 cup full-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 large eggs
12 ounces dried wide egg noodles
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. In a medium bowl, toss the cheddar, Gruyère and mozzarella to combine.
3. In a blender, combine the cottage cheese, sour cream, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, 2 teaspoons salt and eggs. Blend until smooth.
4. Add the egg noodles to the boiling water and cook until al dente, 4 to 5 minutes, then drain and transfer to a large bowl.
5. Add the egg mixture and two-thirds of the grated cheeses to the bowl with the noodles and toss to combine. Pour the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spread it in an even layer.
6. Add the panko to the bowl with the remaining grated cheeses and toss to combine. Sprinkle the panko mixture over the noodles and drizzle with the olive oil.
7. Bake until the kugel is golden brown and set, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve immediately.