Spaetzle is Germany's favorite homemade pasta. It's surprisingly easy to make spaetzle from scratch. Once you've made it, mix the tender noodles with caramelized onions, wilted greens and gruyere cheese to make this scrumptious comforting casserole.
Since the inspiration for this recipe came on a morning dog walk, I'm going to introduce you to my dog Baxter. He's my good buddy and I adore him. Every morning we walk or run together. We have our usual haunts where he meets up with his friends and I meet up with mine.
Recently, on a ridiculously cold and icy day, we ran into a fellow Golden Doodle named Merlin. While the dogs were romping around, Merlin's owner and I got to talking. I found out that she's German. She told me her son was home from college for winter break and that she cooked spaetzle, his favorite food. As she was describing the buttery, cheesy casserole of tiny tender dumplings I knew what I had to do.
What Is Spaetzle?
Spaetzle is a cross between pasta and dumplings. The dough is a mixture of flour, eggs, milk or water, and salt. You can spice it up with nutmeg, black pepper or any herbs that you like. The dumplings are formed by pressing the dough through holes and into boiling water. You can use a flexible spatula to press the dough through the holes of a colander, steamer or anything you have around that has small holes. Or you can use a spaetzle maker like this one.
How To Make Spaetzle
- Make an ice bath: Fill a large bowl with water and ice. This will prevent the hot cooked spaetzle from overcooking.
- Boil water: Set a large pot of salted water over high heat. While it's coming to a boil, make the spaetzle dough.
- Make the Spaetzle Dough: The dough is a simple mix of eggs, milk, flour, salt and pepper.
- Form The Little Dumplings: hold the spaetzle make over the pot of boiling water, add ¼ of the dough, and slide the cup back and forth, allowing the little dumplings to form and fall into the water. Boil for 3 minutes or so and transfer the cooked spaetzle into the ice bath using a slotted spoon. Repeat three more times, until all the dough is used up. When the ice in the ice bath has melted, drain the spaetzle, put it in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil to prevent sticking. At this point you can store it in the fridge, covered, for a day or two before proceeding with this recipe or any other recipe that calls for spaetzle.
There are many ways to eat spaetzle. It's a perfect side dish for soaking up the juices of a saucy stew or goulash. It's also delicious browned in butter in a skillet with herbs or cooked in a casserole with butter and cheese, which is a common German preparation.
I went with the German mac 'n cheese version, adding caramelized onions (one of my all time favorite ingredients), grated gruyere, and wilted winter greens (for something healthy and colorful). I used kale and chard in my casserole but you can substitute your favorite greens. Here's a helpful guide to greens by Cooking Light.
I have to confess, if I could eat anything I wanted without worrying about my weight or my health, it would be macaroni and cheese and lasagna every day. This spaetzle with caramelized onions, wilted greens and gruyere is my German-inspired version of tasty, cheesy comfort food, with a healthy twist. I hope you enjoy!
Here's the spaetzle recipe. If you try it I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think!Print
Related Product: spaetzle-maker