the appetizer:

Starting with Ingredients by Aliza Green, offers hundreds of international recipes featuring ingredients from around the world, including Haitian Roasted Eggplant Salad, Ukrainian Spinach & Egg Noodle Casserole, and Rustic Plum Tart with Slivovitz.

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Ukrainian Spinach & Egg Noodle Casserole

Serves 6 to 8

This is one of my all-time favorite noodle dishes, which I've been making for at least 20 years. I adapted this delicious vegetarian recipe from the Time-Life Foods of the World series book on Russia. I rank this series as the best ever for international foods, even 30 years after they were first published. At the time they came out, I would longingly eye my neighbor's copies as they arrived each month in the mail. At the time, I just couldn't afford them. Since those years, I've managed to obtain a full series through searches at used bookstores. Although the dish may come from far away, the ingredients are easy to find: egg noodles, onions, cheese, and spinach. It follows the same theme as the Persian Spinach Dip (page 878 of the book), combining sweet, butter-cooked onions with lots of spinach, this time combined with soft egg noodles.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss the cooked noodles, 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, half of the cheese, and half of the salt and pepper.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium skillet. Add the chopped onions and cook over medium heat, or until the onions are soft but not brown. Stir in the chopped spinach; raise the heat to high and cooked uncovered until the moisture has completely evaporated, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining salt and pepper.

Brush the bottom and sides of a 2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Arrange one-third of the noodle mixture on the bottom, top with half the spinach mixture, a second layer of noodles, the remaining spinach, and top with the remaining noodles.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy skillet and remove from heat. Stir in the breadcrumbs and the remaining grated cheese. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the casserole and bake 30 minutes, or until browned and bubbling. Serve garnished with the chopped egg.


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This page created June 2007