Spaetzle is the culinary cape-and-tights hero of a German meal. Believe it. So good is this spaetzle stuff that it may also be found in traditional dishes from Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and northern Italy but with slightly different names or shapes. And now, it may be served on your table to become a tradition in your home.
First, you will need something to press the batter into boiling water. Potato ricers, strainers/colanders, food mills, or coarse graters all work well. Super-special spaetzle presses and makers are also available but not a neccessity. I mean, I love and own my share of kitchen gadgets but they can get pricey.
You will need the following:
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups of milk or heavy cream (can use water if you really want)
1 cup of potato, sweet potato, or squash puree
3 cups of all-purpose flour
nutmeg (1/2 tsp per cup of flour)
salt and pepper, pinch each (optional)
- freshly chopped chives, green onion, or parsley
- 4-6 Tablespoons butter
You should make your puree ahead of time. I’ll often make a large batch and then use it soup or freeze it. Choose your own adventure there.
Sift the flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper together into a mixing bowl. Mix the milk and eggs into the puree. Now incorporate the puree mixture with the flour mixture to form a dough. But don’t worry, you don’t have to knead anything. No worries.
Heat a kettle of water over medium heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Once the water on the stove is simmering, use a colander or spaetzle maker to push the dough through the holes into the water. Once the spaetzle begins to float (this doesn’t take long… like a few minutes), scoop it out and put it in the ice water. Once all the spaetzle has cooled, strain it and refridgerate it for a day or two. You can use it immediately but it’s better in a few days. See? Make ahead food for a busy night or for Shabbat.
When ready to use: Melt the butter in a skillet or saucepan and sautee until shiny and heated through. Serve with stroganoff, cabbage, confit of goose or duck (confit d’oie or confit de canard for all you french speaking folks out there), or as a side dish to compliment any hardy meal.
Voila! As promised, homemade spaetzle. Enjoy!