Túrós Csusza or Cheesy Noodles with Bacon (Hungarian Carbonara)

Túrós Csusza or Cheesy Noodles with Bacon

When it comes to comfort food, cheesy ones have a special place in my stomach. (And I think most people would agree.) If you add pasta to the equation, you've just amped up the comfort quotient even more. Then add bacon, and you've got a winner! I have a Hungarian dish for you that has this exact combination.

Where Italians have carbonara, Hungarians have túrós csusza. It's a dish of egg noodles with a sauce made with bacon fat, curd cheese, and sour cream that's then topped with crispy bacon. It's one of my favorite Hungarian dishes because of this holy trinity of comfort food: cheese, pasta, and bacon. What can't be good about that, right!?

In my family we typically ate this pasta dish on Fridays, among other Hungarian pasta dishes like cabbage and noodles or potatoes and noodles. So as you can imagine I always looked forward to that day of the week. Although in Hungarian culture it’s quite common to eat this dish without the bacon, especially if you’re fasting during Lent or on Fridays. But luckily we weren’t that observant. Although in church every year we’d attend a Lenten supper when this dish was served with those fake bacon bits that come in a shakable canister. But I could never get into that!

This recipe is so simple. It’s four ingredients. It can be whipped up in less than 20 minutes. And it’s so satisfying. If this is your first time trying it, you’ll definitely want to make this a part of your repertoire. If you’re in the States, I recommend using farmer’s cheese for this recipe and your favorite brand of egg noodles. Slab bacon is best since you can cut it into large slivers (what the French call lardon), but even regular thinly sliced bacon is just fine. It’s actually the kind my mom used most of the time.

Túrós Csusza or Cheesy Noodles with Bacon

6 to 8 ounces slab bacon, cut into slivers
8 ounces egg noodles (square or wide)
8 ounces curd cheese, such as farmer’s cheese or cottage cheese
8 ounces sour cream

Add the bacon to a cold skillet placed over medium heat.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt the water liberally. Add the egg noodles and cook according to package directions.

Keep rendering the bacon on medium heat until it reaches the level of crispness you like. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon, spreading the bacon out so it doesn’t stick together.

Turn the heat off under the skillet. Add the curd cheese and stir until slightly melted. Add the sour cream and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the cooked egg noodles and combine. Divide among 2 plates. Top each plate with the crispy bacon and serve immediately. Yield: 2 servings.


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