This is it…the best use I’ve discovered to date for pasta that has sat overnight in the refrigerator and clumped together…as cold, wet pasta often will. Last night we made gluten-free Fettucine with marinara sauce (made from oven-roasted plum tomatoes…another recipe blog, I promise). There was a small mountain of pasta left over and unfettered by sauce. As I began scooping it out of the serving bowl and into a Tupperware container, I noted that it had all congealed into a single, massive clump. Too tired to think about how I would rescue it the following day, I tucked the mound into the refrigerator for the night.
The seven hours sleep did me good, for in the morning, I knew instinctively I would make kugel. Must have been all the talk Chef Bill had been doing these past few weeks about the High Holy Days. So I broke off a piece of the massive pasta clump into a single serving size, procured a stick of unsalted butter and went to town. First, the pasta mass was pan-fried on both sides in butter until crisp, about 3 minutes per side on medium heat. Then it was placed in a 300 degree oven to continue heating while I whipped up Chef Bill’s favorite: soft-scrambled eggs, this time sprinkled with chopped chives from the garden.
Chef Bill grew up on kugel. His grandma Zelda was a caterer and his mother Betty has been making it for decades. I on the other hand, with my WASPY Betty Crocker upbringing had only heard about in legend…and witnessed it in person on a few occasions at New York City diners. So I went on instinct and mental notes I’d taken from the legend of kugel. Here’s a hint when cooking in unchartered territory, a little extra butter always makes everything a safer bet. Prior to sliding the kugel into the oven, I tilted the frying pan and drizzled the extra melted butter over the mountain of crispy, golden noodles, watching as the aromatic drops trickled down the coiled strands of Fettucine. Did Chef Bill like the kugel? Let’s just put it this way, he took one bite, pounded the countertop with his fist, and plotzed.