I actually remember the first time I tasted a pierogi. I was 12 and home from school for a (somewhat rare) snow day. One of my parents had picked up two boxes of Golden Gourmet frozen pierogies, and the four of us big kids had them for lunch, topped with sour cream. They instantly became a favorite, and it isn’t hard to imagine why. Pasta dumplings stuffed with cheesy mashed potatoes? What’s not to love?
But time passes. I can’t even count the number of years that went by without even one thought of a pierogi when I recently came across the pierogi casserole on How Sweet It Is. And all of a sudden, the memories came flooding back. And I knew I needed to make something just like it. This cheesy pierogi dish is really more of a lasagna than a casserole. It starts with a layer of homemade bechamel, a creamy white sauce made from butter, flour, and whole milk.
Then you layer up the lasagna noodles with cheesy mashed potatoes. These aren’t just any mashed potatoes, either — they’ve got butter, cottage cheese (or sour cream), and mozzarella. Multi-faceted creaminess, this one.
With the first bite, I felt like I was 12 again. It totally tastes like pierogies! Except it’s much simpler than making your own pierogi dough and then filling each little circle before crimping the edges closed.
Pierogi lasagna is a fun addition to any dairy meal, especially one that includes potato-lovers. Or cheese-lovers. Or pasta-lovers. And hey, Shavuos starts at the end of the week. Perfect timing.
Based on How Sweet It Is
Serves about 6 (measurements are for an 8×8 dish)
Updated Sep. 23, 2014: This recipe previously said to use no-bake noodles. I tried it today with regular lasagna noodles, added some milk, and changed the baking time, and it worked perfectly. I’ve adjusted the directions below.
- 10 small potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and quartered
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup cottage cheese or sour cream
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese, divided
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole milk, plus extra for splashing (see directions)
- 6 lasagna noodles, uncooked
1. Fill a large pot about two-thirds of the way with water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes (they should be covered by the water by at least an inch) and reduce the heat the medium-low. Cook for 20-30 minutes; when a knife passes easily through the larger pieces, they’re done. Drain and return to the pot.
2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a non-stick skillet and saute onion until soft and lightly browned.
3. Mash potatoes to a smooth consistency with a potato masher (that one’s a shocker, huh?), adding 3 Tbsp butter, cottage cheese/sour cream, about two-thirds of the mozzarella/cheddar, and the sauteed onion. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Cover and set aside.
4. Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C.
5. Make bechamel sauce: Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a small saucepan and whisk in flour, stirring constantly over low heat for 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat and slowly add ½ cup milk, continuing to stir constantly to ensure a smooth sauce. Return to heat and stir until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.
6. Pour all of the sauce into an 8×8 baking dish and spread across the bottom to create the first layer of the lasagna. Top with lasagna noodles (two fit perfectly side-by-side in my dish).
7. Layer mashed potatoes and lasagna noodles until you reach the top of the dish or run out of potatoes. Follow each layer of potatoes with a small splash of milk, about 2 tablespoons’ worth. Finish with a layer of potatoes, then top it off with the reserved one-third of the shredded cheese, a final splash of milk, and a sprinkle of dried parsley, if you like (or even better, use fresh).
8. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes, or until the cheese on the top starts to brown. Delicious when served right away, but also great after being reheated in the oven.