When I was growing up, my father loved a dish we referred to as káposztás tészta, in Hungarian, and kraut lukshen or kraut pletzlach in Yiddish. It was made of a European combination of spicy savory savoy cabbage and small pieces of pasta. My mother only made it rarely, not because it was difficult, but because she was fanatical about the type of noodles she would use: only the square egg pasta sold at Cousin Duvid’s Brooklyn grocery store would do, and we lived in Manhattan, an hour away by subway. Duvid’s grocery had sawdust on the floor and a large can of shmaltz herring on the counter. Duvid would wear a stone-colored peaked cap and a grey grocer’s jacket while he greeted his customers by name. Duvid was always smiling—no small thing for a man who lost eight siblings and his mother in the war. The noodles came packed in clear cellophane. The blue sheet listing the ingredients and cooking instructions was in Yiddish. Made with flour and egg yolks, the small yellow squares magically remained al dente even after a long boiling. Their thick and chewy texture was the perfect foil to the gossamer weightlessness of the sautéed cabbage. I’ve never found a noodle quite as good, but even with ordinary noodles this dish is a winner. And though it’s not a traditional Nine Days food, for me, a week where I prepare only parve foods is an excuse to bring it back.
Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about seven minutes. Add cabbage and spices and cook until soft, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally so the cabbage doesn’t burn.
Combine cabbage and noodles and enjoy.