Spätzle

Pasta dishes are always popular and different variations can be found in just about every culture.  A popular pasta dish that comes from Germany is known as Spätzle.  Spätzle means “little sparrows” and dates back to 1725.   Traditional Spätzle is an egg based noodle that can be sauteed with butter, or topped with a meat gravy.

While savory Spätzle is the most prevalent type of Spätzle, there are some recipes that feature Spätzle in a sweet format.  The sweet recipes combine Spätzle with butter, cinnamon, sugar and either cherries or apples, .  Sweet Spätzle is traditionally served during the fall time of the year.

Making fresh pasta can be somewhat of a scary concept for some.  I know before I attempted my first fresh pasta recipe, I was very nervous that it would not come out right.  Spätzle is actually very easy to make and hard to mess up.  No special equipment is needed to make Spätzle.  While some recipes state a Spätzle maker is needed to create the Spätzle noodles, I have found that a simple colander does the trick just fine.  Granted if you plan on regularly making a lot of Spätzle than you might want to invest in a Spätzle maker.

The recipe below creates enough Spätzle for 2 to 3 people, depending on serving size.  The finished Spätzle can be served plain (with sauteed butter) or it can be the base for goulash or paired with schnitzel.  One of my favorite ways to prepare Spätzle is to saute it with grated Gruyere cheese and caramelized onions.

Spätzle

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup milk

2 eggs (beaten)

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

Fill a large stock pot with water (add a pinch of salt) and heat to a boil.   While the water is heating, mix together the flour, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add half of the beaten eggs and half of the milk to the flour mixture, then stir to combine.  Add the rest of the eggs and milk to the mixture, then stir again to mix until smooth.  Allow dough to rest for a couple of minutes.  

Reduce boiling water to a simmer.  While holding over the simmering water, press the dough through spätzle maker, or a large holed colander.  Drop a few strands at a time into the simmering water. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, then drain well.  Continue to repeat the process until all the dough has been cooked.  

The cooked spätzle can be sauteed with butter in a medium saucepan.  Cook the spätzle for 1 to 2 minutes to give the noodles a nice golden color.  The finished spätzle can be topped with chopped chives or fresh parsley.  

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