Spaetzle or Spätzle is a German pasta dish that goes very well with heavy stews and other heavy sauces. They feel like little, buttery pillows in your mouth.
Spaetzle is very popular in Germany as it originated there. It’s a mixture of flour and egg, similar to a noodle, but much more pillowy in texture. When they are removed from the water, they are put in butter so each little piece gets a thin coating of butter.
As some of you know, when I was a little girl, my father was a captain in the U. S. Army and we were stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany. I have a very specific memory of when my mother and I left Germany. We stopped at a small inn that was serving venison stew and spaetzle.
I’ll never forget how good that was. I’ve been chasing that flavor my entire life – until now. There was one particularly awful experience when I bought a box of it and tried to make it. It was tough as nails with no flavor. I made it other times and it just didn’t seem to have the right flavor, so I kept on playing with it until I developed this recipe.
How to Serve Spaetzle
There are a few things you can use to make spaetzle. Many people use a colander but I find that a little messy. You can also get a spaetzle ricer that you fill up and squeeze over the water. However, my preferred way is to use a Spaetzle Maker or Spätzlehobe. It has a hopper that you fill with the dough and then you scrape the dough over boiling water. I believe if you are going to have a dedicated tool, it should not be overly expensive, and this one is nicely priced.
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- Place flour, egg, salt, cayenne, and milk in a mixing bowl. Whisk together until the batter drips slowly off the whisk. If the batter seems too thin, add a bit more flour; if too thick, add a bit more milk. If a dollop of the batter does not drip through the grating holes, it's the right consistency.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Put the spaetzle maker over the pot. Fill the hopper with batter and run the hopper back and forth to make the spaetzle.
- When dumplings rise to the surface of the water, they are done. This will take just a few minutes. Remove the dumplings with a spider stainer or a slotted spoon, and repeat in batches with the remaining batter.