Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Homemade Spaetzle

The Hubs and I have some German heritage (he has more than I do) and in fact, we are planning a trip to Oktoberfest (yes, THE Oktoberfest) later this year. So it should be no big surprise that we wanted to try our hand at some traditional German food. We also recently had a particularly good spaetzle at a local restaurant, Dutch & Co.

Spaetzle (pronounced schpet-zle) is a German noodle or dumpling. We paid about 7 bucks for a spaetzle maker, which is essentially a cup attached to a piece of metal with holes in it. And once you have that, spaetzle is remarkably easy to make. It takes just a few minutes to whip up the dough, and then just a couple more minute to cook. And it’s really good too. It’s a bit like pasta with a little more chew to it, and this recipe also has some good flavor from the pepper. If you ever wanted to make pasta but were intimidated by the time it takes, this is a good first step. We got the recipe from Tyler Florence, but I adjusted it slightly. We actually made this twice, first with a short rib ragu on top (YUM) and secondly with melted cheese (MEH). But there are tons of ways to eat it. I would also caution that this recipe doesn’t make a whole lot of spaetzle. Probably only about two cups max.

1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk

You can do the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls if you like, but I’m super lazy so I try to just use one. Start with the eggs and milk and whisk them together. On top of the wet mixture, add the flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Use a spoon to lightly mix the seasoning into the flour without dipping into the wet mixture at first. Then use a spatula to mix everything together until it’s fully incorporated. Tyler says to let it rest 10-15 minutes, which is just about the time it takes to get some salted water boiling.

Put about a third of the dough into the hopper/cup of your spaetzle maker and run it back and forth over the boiling water until all the dough has gone through into the water. Give it just a minute or two tops and then fish out the floating dumplings with a slotted spoon. We transferred them to a sieve sitting over a bowl, just to get rid of any extra water. Repeat the process until all the dough is used up.

After that, you can eat it right away, or pour sauce over it and eat. But we like to sauté the spaetzle just a touch to get a little color on it. Heat up olive oil or butter and sauté your dumplings until you can’t stand the wait any longer and then eat them! Or add onions or cheese or herbs. Get creative. Mach schnell!! (That means, “Hurry!”)

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