February 28, 2009


Spaetzle are little noodles, or tiny dumplings, made with a simple batter of flour, egg and milk. They're plump and tactile; comforting in the same way potatoes are, but lighter; and more flavoursome than pasta. They're also very quick to make, and once you've boiled them you can toss them in butter, or pan fry them in a little butter and dill, as I did today. Then serve them as a substitute for pasta, noodles or potato.

You can form the noodles by pushing the batter through a colander with large holes directly into the boiling water, or by using a dedicated spaetzle maker, which looks like a grater with an extra attachment that runs on a track over the holes. The makers aren't expensive, and mine is possibly the most fun thing in my kitchen: it sits snugly over the saucepan, and when you begin it looks unlikely to work, but soon enough the dough is falling, perfectly formed, into the water. But Germans were cooking spaetzle before colanders and spaetzle makers were invented, and it's also easy enough to squeeze the dough between your fingers, or to cut it off a chopping board, as long as you do these things directly into the boiling water. When it's time to clean your cooking implements, it's easier to remove the sticky batter with cold water rather than hot.

from The Joy of Cooking

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk or water

Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and combine. The batter should be slightly elastic. Boil 6 cups of salted water in a large saucepan. Press batter through a large-holed colander or spaetzle maker. Don't try to use all the batter all at once. As the noodles rise to the top of the water, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and place them in a colander to drain. The noodles should be light - if they're on the heavy side, add more milk to the batter before continuing with the next batch.

1 comment:

jzgplj said...

I'm trying these tonight!

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