Fifteen years ago, my neighbor, who was a great cook, invited me over for dinner. She had made homemade spätzle with a spätzle maker she'd found in a yard sale during a visit to her home state. The maker looked like a cheese grater with a shuttle across the top of it. I was delighted when she demonstrated it: the dough drops through the holes as the shuttle scrapes over them, dropping drippings of spatzle dough right into the boiling water. How clever; how sensible!
Spätzle fascinates me. I classify it as a homemade pasta or egg noodle, and I love that there's no running the dough through a pasta maker several times to make it smooth, and no figuring out where to hang the pasta to dry. But there's still enough effort involved that it feels like a homemade food project, a bit of an adventure, a bit celebratory.
I've been wanting to make spätzle for years since, so on my recent trip to Austria I purchased a spätzle maker of my own. It has a curved surface with holes, and a rubber scraper for pushing the dough over them. It's wide enough to rest over any of my boiling water pots. I understand you can substitute a large-holed colander for a spatzle maker, but I've never tried.
The recipe I used: 500 g flour, 6 eggs, 150ml water, teaspoon of salt. I let my stand mixer do the work.
- 500 g flour
- 6 eggs
- 150ml water ( 1 2/3 cup water)
- 1 teaspoon salt
I brought a potful of water to boil, adding salt and oil.
I put a big scoop of dough on the spätzle maker. I could tell the consistency was right because it drooped through the holes but didn't fall or run out. I scraped back and forth which forced the dough out. The spätzle that floated was done; I pulled it out with my mesh kitchen sieve.
Now, what to serve with it? Spätzle is a German food I associate with chunks of meat and gravy. Yet like egg noodles, it's good with butter and a little salt. I made a simple mushroom cream sauce by sautéing chopped onion and finely diced mushroom (used food processor to chop) and then adding some cream and cooking it a bit more. Add a side salad, and we had a delicious dinner tonight.