The meal I remember most vividly from my childhood is the one I turn to when I want something fast and simple. It’s always on nights when I’m fending for myself for dinner — Don won’t eat it, the more fool he. Egg noodles with sour cream and cottage cheese were just called ‘noodles and cheese’ in my mom’s house (they still are!), and it’s still one of my favorite things to eat. I’ve always got a bag of egg noodles stashed somewhere in the pantry.
I made this for myself late last week, on a night when we’d both eaten very late lunches and decided to scrap any formal dinner plans. It occured to me that I had no idea where this dish came from — Don’s family has never heard of it, and most of my friends don’t eat it either. So I did a little bit of googling, and discovered that this childhood favorite is actually a really lazy version of túrós csusza, a Hungarian dish. In the real thing, you make a sauce for the noodles from bacon and cottage cheese, and serve it with a dollop of sour cream on top of the whole thing. (Check out a recipe here, and Jenny from Around the World in 80 Meals’ description of it from Meal #8 here.) I have no idea how a Hungarian dish found its way into my Polish Jewish family’s recipe books — perhaps my vigilant mother will post a comment below and tell us all if she knows.
Our version of this dish has no bacon — a good thing, since I don’t generally eat it! — and requires virtually no cooking. Simply boil and drain the noodles and dish yourself up a plateful, then top with a generous amount of cottage cheese and just slightly less sour cream (I like mine very sour cream-y — other members of my family would tell you that the ratio should more properly be about half as much sour cream as cottage cheese, but it’s all up to the eater). Mix the whole thing together and eat up.
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Tags: comfort food, cottage cheese, pasta, sour cream