Thursday, 8 May 2014

Sluttishly Savoury: Spaetzle


Spaetzle, pronounced 'spetch-lay' is Germany's answer to Macaroni. These pasta-like noodles are made by pushing fresh dough through a colander, where it drops into boiling water, forming funny worm shaped dumplings, which are then fried in butter.

I first tried spaetzle six months ago at a street food stall in Berlin where they served it with fried onions and cheese. It was midwinter and I was in dire need of hot cheesy carbs. It was love at first bite. I'd even go so far as to say it's better than mac and cheese, it's kind of fresher and doughier. My affection for spätzle went further when I found out you only need 3 ingredients to make it. It's now my fall back recipe for when I cannot face Morrisons. Clever old Germans.

You can have it with literally anything. Drop a handful into chicken soup, or serve it with stews or meatballs. The recipe below uses peas, cheese and browned butter and is a bit like a warm pasta salad. And quite delicious it is.

Spaetzle with Peas and Brown Butter (serves one very hungry person as a main)
Preparation Time:15mins
Cooking Time: 15mins

You will need: 
For the spaetzle
  • 140g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 180ml milk
  • a good grating of nutmeg
For the brown butter peas:
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • a handful of frozen peas
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • a lot of Parmesan or pecorino 
  • a smattering of chopped dill or parsley
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
Make it!
  1. Season the flour generously with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  2. Make a well in the centre, break the egg in and mix it into the flour, adding the milk little by little, beating it all so you get a smooth batter.
  3. Hold your colander (preferably with large holes) over a pan of salty boiling water, and push the batter through with a spatula to help you, so it drops in the water. 
  4. Cook the dumplings for no more than two minutes, then drain. 
  5. Heat a pan with the butter and, stirring constantly, allow the butter to become a light brown colour. Transfer the browned butter to a heatproof dish and add another small nob of butter back to the pan. Throw in your spaetzle and fry until they have a bit of colour. 
  6. Throw in the peas, chopped spring onion and lemon zest.
  7. Season with salt and pepper before returning the browned butter to the pan with a squeeze of lemon juice. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and herbs. 

13 comments:

  1. I made spätzle last night. I had a gorgeous spinach version in Germany, but at home I tend to do caramelised onion, bacon, cheese, and chopped carrots.
    I've just bought a "spätzle-maker", so tried that out for the first time - SO much easier and quicker than using a colander, so I foresee a lot more tasty dumpling goodness in my life.

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    Replies
    1. I want to come round to your house please! Where did you get your spätzle maker from? That is committed spätzle making move right there. I applaud you x

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    2. Sluttery spätzle party?!
      I actually got it from Amazon! It's sort of like a cheese grater that sits flat across the pan of water and it has a hopper on the top that you pour the batter into and slide back and forth to work it through the holes (if that makes sense). I totally thought it was going to be one of those things which sounds amazing and turns out not to be, but it works beautifully and it's not huge so I don't feel bad having a specific spätzle-making device taking up space in the kitchen! x

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  2. Oh Yummmm! I wonder if this was the "butter noodles" my friends had when they were in Switzerland? She now makes a pasta cooked in broth (usually a good quality veggie stock), with butter, cheese, warm chicken and spinach. Sounds a bit similar, no? Tastes good anyway - I want to try your recipe now!! Thank you for this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah it probably is, google tells me that they enjoy them in Switzerland as well as Hungary, Austria, the Alsace and South Tyrol. That sounds like a bloody good idea, cooking them in broth. Right, I'm off to buy broth.

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    2. Yep, I had them in South Tyrol. They're brilliant little wriggly things.

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  3. Butter you say? *interested*

    Definitely not been pronouncing them spetzle or anything. Definitely not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely didn't call them spetzle for 5 months either

      Delete
    2. I've been calling them spatzel all my life. Well done, team Sluttery. Top marks.

      Delete
  4. Would a potato ricer be good for this instead of a colander?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd had thought so. I've only tried it with a colander but spatzle makers look like potato ricers so wouldn't see why not. All I know is the bigger the holes the better..

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  5. This is a timely post for me :) My daughter is coming home from college tomorrow night and has requested spaetzle for dinner. I just moved and have not unpacked the spaetzle maker so I guess I will do that tonight. I also have not unpacked my cookbooks as I am waiting on a book case to be delivered, so I might try this recipe instead of my usual.

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