SPAETZLE

My version of spaetzle

Monday was Germany. My dinners sometimes are spurred by something I read that stirred my curiosity or a dish somebody mentioned. Unless I am entertaining, I only cook twice a week (the rest of the time it’s just a bowl of cereal and a cup of rooibos) so I must make it interesting.

Recently, a colleague mentioned spaetzle, which brought to the surface of my dim memory dinners in mountaintop chalets in Tyrol when I was a kid, several feet of snow outside and delicious, hot and heavy dishes inside.

Spaetzle (which translates to little sparrow) is, essentially, a home made egg noodle. In Germany, at least in Sud -Tyrol, spaetzle machines can easily be found in most homes but all you need is either a colander with largish holes or a potato ricer. I went with the base of a pizza dish which had nice, large holes. Traditionally, spaetzle is mixed with browned onions and cheese and served as a side dish. I served it as a main course by adding some sausages to it and baking everything in the oven but, once the noodles are cooked, you can sautee the whole thing in a pan and just serve it.

RECIPE

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 1/4 C flour

1/4 ts nutmeg

2 eggs

8 oz Emmenthal cheese, grated

salt

3/4 to 1 C milk

2 your favourite sausage links, if using

  1. Brown the onion on medium heat until nicely caramelized. Add salt to taste. If using, cut the sausage into chunks and cook them in a pan until nicely browned.

    Caramelize the onions firstAnd the sausages

  2. Combine flour, nutmeg and salt.
  3. In a different bowl, whisk eggs and milk (start with 3/4 cup). Add wet ingredients to dries and mix with a spatula. The batter should look like a thick pancake batter – add a little more milk if too stiff.

    The batter should look a little less stiff than this

  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and place a colander on it (or use the potato ricer over it). Press some of the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, through the holes. The spaetzle, like gnocchi, is cooked when the little sparrows come floating to the top.

    Here is what I used but a colander or potato ricer will do

  5. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a large, flat dish covered with a cotton towel.

    Press the batter through the holes

    They are ready when they float up

  6. Combine spaetzle, onions, and 3/4 of the cheese (and sausage) in a bowl, then transfer to a gratin dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is nicely melted.Combine everything in a gratin dish
  7. Alternatively, put all the ingredients in a sautee pan and cook on medium heat until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
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