Spaetzle. It is NOT pronounced spayt-zel, like so many people say. I even heard a chef on a cooking show say it that way! For shame! No, it’s SPETZ-leh.
Now that we have that out of the way….
Spaetzle is basically homemade German noodles, and is the perfect (and requisite, in my book) accompaniment to Schnitzel. It does require a bit of specialized equipment, but in a pinch you can use something you might already have in the house.
My husband’s aunt, who lives in Germany, sent us a spaetzle maker for a wedding present, so I have the convenience of that. It’s just a heavy metal appliance that has a large vessel with small holes in the bottom, and a large flat plunger piece to force dough through the holes. The one I have looks like this.
I love it. It’s super heavy duty and pretty much indestructible.
But, I’ve seen others like this.
But, if you have a colander with the right shaped holes, you can just use that instead, as this person does!
Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to push the batter through and it’ll probably work just fine! I’d imagine that something like a potato ricer would work too. Or what about a cheese grater with large holes? I bet it would work something like the one in the first picture up there. Basically, as long as you have something with holes that you can press batter through, you’re good.
The batter is simple and has just 4 ingredients: flour, salt, egg, and milk.
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl, and form a well in the center.
Beat the eggs in another bowl and add in the milk, then pour that into the center of the well.
And mix it up.
Until it’s completely combined and sort of stretchy.
Get a pot of boiling water going on the stove, and fill up your spaetzle maker. I usually just sit it over the bowl and scoop it in. Be careful to not have the bowl too near the heat, though, or the batter in it will start to cook in the bowl!
When the water comes to a full boil, press the batter in.
At the end, I just kind of shake it loose. If you cut it with a knife you get big gobs of cooked spaetzle batter.
The spaetzle will rise to the top. Wait until the water comes back to a full boil and wait about another 30 seconds, then scoop it out into a bowl.
Keep going until the batter is all gone!
You can do anything to it that you’d do with regular pasta: top with gravy, butter, sauces, spices…whatever you want. You can make a quick simple sauce by combining butter, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and white wine and simmering them together for a few minutes. I also make spaetzle as the noodles to go with Hungarian Goulash, and it’s great!
And, of course, it’s perfect with Schnitzel.
- 3 cups whole grain spelt flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 beaten eggs
- 1½ cups milk
- Combine the flour and salt and form a well in the center of the bowl.
- Combine the milk and eggs and pour into the well.
- Mix together thoroughly, until the batter is rather stretchy.
- Bring a large pot of water to full boil. Fill up your spaetzle maker and push the batter through the holes into the boiling water. If you don't have a spaetzle maker, use a colander with medium sized holes, and push the batter through the holes with a wooden spoon.
- Cook until the water comes back to a full boil, and then wait 30 more seconds. Scoop into a bowl as they're cooked.
- Serve any way you would normally serve pasta.
(This recipe was part of the Real Food Wednesday blog carnival!)