Spaetzle

Spaetz is Swabish for “Sparrow”, so spaetzle are “little sparrows”. I’m not really all that clear on the relationship between small, soft egg noodles and baby birds, but whatever. I like it, and I think that’s what I’ll call them from now on.

I made spaetzle last night, and forgot to take a picture of the finished dish, which was delicious and quite attractive. The recipe is extremely easy and fresh pasta is such a treat – it’s really wonderful to be able to make it without an expensive pasta maker and the extra work of drying and tempering. I’d even suggest this for a work-night dinner; fast, uses common ingredients and is capable of being reinvented with every sort of leftover.

For this recipe you will need a colander with large holes, say 3/8″ diameter. Several sources suggest using the large holes of a cheese grater, but the surface is small and hard to hold above the pot. I bought a .99 cent plastic colander at the grocery store which works beautifully or you could buy a spaetzle-board for about $12.00.

You can tell I got a little carried away with the colander. . .

Spaetzle for two or three – the recipe doubles easily.

2 eggs, 1/3 C whole milk, 1/4 C parsley, minced; 1/4 tsp salt; 1 1/3 C all-purpose flour. Mince the parsley very fine.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. In a large bowl, add the eggs, milk, parsley and salt and mix well. Add the flour a little at a time while mixing – the dough should be a little runny. Let it sit for 10 minutes. If it sits longer than that, it will begin to “bind”, so add a little more milk at that point.

Carefully hold the colander over the pot of boiling water (or place the spaetzle-board across it), spoon the dough into the container and then push the dough through the holes with the back of a wooden spoon. Wriggly “little sparrows” will drop into the water, fall, and then rise as they cook. I wait 3 or 4 minutes, but taste one at about 2 minutes. They don’t take long to cook and a lot depends on the consistency of your dough.

Drain the cooked spaetzle and, when most of the water has run off and they begin to dry, spread them on an oiled cookie sheet (I use a Silplat) until you’re ready to use them.

For the basic dish, simply saute the spaetzle in butter and serve with applesauce.  I toss them with roasted broccoli and sauteed leeks, topped with Parmesan, but I’ve also had them with tomato sauce, with a glaze of reduced cider and topped with bread crumbs – go nuts!

We had creampuffs for dessert, with creme anglais and chocolate ganache. Next post is the recipe, which is blindingly easy.

1 thought on “Spaetzle

  1. we always had spaetzle with fresh green beans and butter. Simple and bland-sounding, but really quite tastey. These days, I’d probably use more spices and some chix broth rather than butter. Maybe olive oil.

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