Spaetzle is the German equivalent of pasta – minus all the tedious kneading, rolling and shaping. This Bavarian staple has been consumed in quantity since Medieval Europe, and possibly even earlier. Simply put, spaetzle are noodles that are made with a thick, eggy batter that is then pressed through holes into boiling water. They cook in mere seconds and when they float to the top they are done.
A million years ago when I was in Germany I ate these in mass quantities, ordering them whenever they were on the menu. I never tired of them due to their versatility. Topped with a thick, meaty ragu or toasted in a pan with butter and garlic, or better yet onion and bacon, I still don’t tire of these little noodley gems.
Apparently I’m not alone; commercially prepared spaetzle are gaining in popularity and can be found in a dried form in many larger supermarkets. Some specialty shops may even sell them ready to heat and serve in a vacuum sealed pack.
RESIST!! I say! These are so ridiculously easy to make with ingredients you have on hand that it is a shame to buy the prepackaged ones. All you need is a device to shape the tiny noodles, and even for that you don’t need a fancy uni-tasker made specifically for the job. I got this tip from the food network – take an aluminum pie pan and poke holes through it with a thick wooden skewer, or some other round implement. Poke the holes through from the pie side out the bottom of the pan. Then just place the pan over your pot of boiling water and using a spatula, press the dough through! And to think I scoured the internet years ago looking for my now nearly worn out spaetzle press…
- 1-2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 eggs beaten
- 3 tbsp cold water or so
- Combine the flour and salt. Add the beaten egg and mix well with a spatula to remove any lumps. Slowly add the water until you have a thick, sludgy batter than oozes slowly toward the rim of the bowl if you invert it. Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes to relax the gluten.
- Heat a pot of water to boiling and salt it. Press the batter through the sieve letting the noodles drop into the water. Do this in 2 batches.
- Remove the noodles several seconds after they float to the top.