I never knew making pasta could be this simple and fast, until I got my hands on this spaetzle recipe.
Here’s a little backstory behind this recipe: It was not until 6 years ago that I actually tasted real German cuisine, and I mean real German food, not just some knock-off smoked sausages. I was lucky enough to have a friend whose mother was German, and they were so generous that they invited me over for dinner since I told them I had never had German food. When I got to their home, I was just in time to witness the culinary wonder of the making of spaetzle.
What Is Spaetzle?
Spätzle /ˈʃpɛtslə/, or Spaetzle, is a type of pasta that is made primarily from salt, eggs, and a type of strong flour. In order to make spaetzle, all you need to do is simply mix all of the ingredients together until a smooth batter is formed. The batter is spread onto a wooden cutting board, and then scrapped off the board, in the form of long thin strips, into salted boiling water. When the shaped dough hits the water, it will become firm and start to cook. Once cooked, the egg pasta will float to the surface, ready to be fished out of the water.
That is how to make spaetzle manually, which was the technique that my friend’s mom used, and you have to see it at least once. It’s one of the beauties of making food from scratch. If you want to check it out, search for spaetzle recipes on Youtube and just pick any from the homemade videos.
Can You Use A Ricer To Make Spaetzle?
Yes, you can.
If you don’t have a special cutting board that is made specifically for the purpose of making spaetzle, you can use a ricer instead. Simply put the batter into the ricer and press down. You can use whatever tool you have on hand to make the spaetzle as well. I usually use my grater, but I reckon a slotted spoon or a strainer with lots of small holes will work just fine. Be creative, anything you have on hand, as long as it has lots of small round holes to shape the spaetzle, will work.
Now, spaetzle comes in many different shapes and sizes, from long and thin strips, to little droplets, to undefined shapes. But no matter what shape it takes it will always be delicious. You can eat it as is or with some sort of meat stew. You can add an extra touch to it by pan frying it in some butter with any kind of herb you prefer like thyme, rosemary or sage. The buttery spaetzle is crispy on the outside yet soft on the inside; and the herbs give the dish an extra depth of flavor.
You can skip the butter if you want; the spaetzle will taste just like pasta. I reckon it would pair amazingly well with my beef stroganoff. Now I’m curious what your favorite way to enjoy spaetzle is, so please let me know in the comment section. 🙂
Can You Buy Spaetzle?
I suppose you can.
Though the dish originated in the South of Germany, it has now become popular in many other regions of the world. Spaetzle sold in stores usually comes in the shape of dried long and thin strips. I remember seeing it in a supermarket once, but didn’t pay much attention to it as I hardly buy premade food. You can try checking out the German food market, too, if it’s available in your area.
Can’t find it? Well then I guess you’ll have to stop looking and start making it yourself.
Can Spaetzle Be Made Ahead?
Yes, you can make spaetzle ahead of time.
Even though it only takes minutes to make, I like to have some ready to eat throughout the week every once in a while. When you have some time to spare, make a big batch of this eggy pasta. Boil and drain it as usual; and toss it in olive oil to prevent sticking. Wrap it with cling film or put it in an airtight container so that it won’t dry out.
To reheat your spaetzle, stir-fry it over medium-high heat so that it crisps up on the outside instead of putting it in the microwave.
But you need to know how to make spaetzle first! Let’s get cooking.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt divied
- 9 tbsp whole milk
- 4 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
- 3 medium eggs
- 2 quarts water
- 3/4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper divided
- 1.2 oz raw cured bacon roughly chopped
- 6 oz button mushrooms sliced
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 4 oz onions finely diced
- 2 tbsp white wine
- 1 cup unsalted chicken broth
- 4 tbsp heavy cream
- 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour, cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add milk, yogurt, and eggs. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
- Fill a large pot with 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, set up a workstation: place the bowl of batter, a spatula, and a ladle next to the pot (preferably on the side of your dominant hand), and a clean bowl with a mesh strainer on the other side of the pot.
- Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-high. Put a flat grater with large holes over the pot, smooth side facing up. Scoop half a ladle of the batter and pour directly on the grater and press it down with a spatula. The batter will go through the holes of the grater and form its shape once it’s in the boiling water. Remove the spaetzle with a strainer immediately when it floats to the surface. Fish it out using a strainer and put it in a clean bowl. Repeat with the remaining batter and set aside.
- In a large pan, heat butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, add spaetzle, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate, cover with aluminum foil to keep warm, and set aside.
- In the same pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, bacon, sliced mushrooms, reduce heat to medium and sauté for 5 minutes. Add onions and garlic; cook for another 10 minutes or until vegetables are browned. Turn the heat up to high, add white wine and stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add unsalted chicken broth. Bring to a boil and add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Turn heat down to low and stir in cream. Turn off the heat.
- Serve spaetzle in a deep dish or bowl. Ladle hot mushroom sauce over the spaetzle, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.