Spaetzle (spätzle) is a pasta that is most commonly associated with Germany but it is also popular in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige in northern Italy. It is a fairly simple recipe consisting of eggs, flour, salt, and milk or water that creates a thick, runny batter. The shape of the resulting dough resembles small birds, giving rise to the name spaetzle, which translates to “little sparrow”.
Before utensils like spaetzle boards and presses were invented, spaetzle were almost exclusively shaped by hand or a spoon. Now there are a number of devices available for extruding the dough. One such device looks like flat grater with a slidable hopper on top which holds the dough and slides along the grater holes; others resemble food mills or strainers. If you don’t have one of these spaetzle makers, you can use a colander or flat grater, and push the dough through the holes with a metal spoon. This is rustic looking pasta, so there's no need to get too concerned about the shape.
There are many different ways for serving spaetzle but it is mainly served as a side dish to stews or other meats with sauces. You can simply add a little butter or oil to it or use pretty much any sauce that you would use for pasta, such as tomato, cream or cheese sauce. Spaetzle can also be sautéed in some butter until they are lightly browned and crisp or with fried onions added. In Alto Adige, spaetzle are often sautéed with butter, leeks and speck, a dry-cured, lightly-smoked ham typical of the region.
The recipe that follows makes spaetzle using a spaetzle maker with a slidable hopper.
(Serves 4 - 6)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk or water + more as needed
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, eggs, milk or water and salt. Stir until the ingredients until they form a sticky, wet batter. You can also use an electric mixer. The batter should neither be just a little thicker than pancake batter. If it is too thick it will be difficult to make the spaetzle with your spaetzle maker. If the batter is dry, add a couple more tablespoons of water or milk. Let the batter sit for 5-10 min.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add about 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and then reduce to a simmer. Place a bowl or colander next to your pot of water to transfer the spaetzle once cooked. Rest your spaetzle maker over the pot. Place a large scoop of the batter into the slidable hopper on top of the grater. Then push the hopper back and forth over the grater. The dough will drip into the simmering water and form into the spaetzle. Work in batches, after using about 1/3 of the batter stop adding batter and let the spaetzle in the water cook for 1-2 minutes or until they float to the top. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the spaetzle to a bowl or colander.
The spaetzle can be drained and served with melted butter immediately or rinsed with cold water and set aside to reheat and serve later.
Here's another delicious way to serve spaetzle:
Prepare spaetzle as directed above and set aside.
In a large skillet, saute some red onion slices in butter, then add some cooked green beans. Stir in the spaetzle; add a little more butter so that the spaetzle are lightly coated and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the spaetzle are lightly browned and slightly crisp. Serve.
This professional grade spaetzle maker is constructed of high quality & food safe stainless steel to last you a lifetime of deliciously cooked pasta. It features a sturdy, soft anti-slip grip handle and a batter box that neatly contains and distributes batter when in use. Quickly creates perfectly uniform spaetzle by moving the batter box back and forth.
The stainless steel spider strainer will allow you to scoop out a large amount of spaetzle quickly and easily from the simmering water.
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