Spaetzle

Spaetzle (SHPEHT-sluh), is the U.S. spelling and pronunciation for German spätzle. The first time we tried it, our friend Michelle served it for dinner at her house. Then, while visiting Charleston in 2017, Mark and I ordered Chicken Schnitzel & Herb Spaetzle at a restaurant called 1Kept. That did it. I had to explore making it at home.

In many ways, it is similar to Italian Gnocchi but much easier to prepare. Instead of investing in a spaetzle press, we use a potato ricer. Why have two kitchen gadgets where one will suffice?

  • SPAETZLE
  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
WHAT YOU NEED WHAT TO DO WHY
7 ½ ounces all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
Whisk all together in a 1-quart bowl. Dry mustard adds a subtle depth of flavor without shouting its presence.
2 large eggs
¾ cup cool tap water
Whisk together in a 1-quart bowl until loose and frothy. Add to flour mixture; whisk just until incorporated. The batter will look a little lumpy. Loosening egg with water shortens mixing time with flour, minimizing gluten development, which in turn produces tender noodles.
Sauce of choice (optional) Prepare any desired sauce now so that it is ready to toss with cooked spaetzle. Cooked spaetzle quickly gets sticky.
3 quarts tap water In a 5-quart tri-ply stockpot set over high heat, bring water to a rolling boil (6-8 minutes). Add half the batter to a potato ricer, slowly press to drop noodles into the water. Do not overload the water. Turbulent water discourages doughy clumps. Overloading causes water to drop below the boil, risking gummy noodles.
  After spaetzle rises to the surface, wait 1 minute and then promptly extract with a large mesh spoon. Eliminate excess liquid with a vigorous shake; deposit in a strainer set over a plate. Repeat with the second half of batter. Overcooking in the boiling water destroys spaetzle’s texture.
1 tablespoon butter, cut into 2-3 pieces Add butter to a medium bowl; transfer spaetzle on top. As butter melts, gently toss with a silicone spatula. At this point, the spaetzle can be served as is (similar to Italian buttered noodles). Alternatively, add to a sauce of choice and gently toss with the silicone spatula before serving. A silicone spatula is gentle on these very delicate noodles.
  Alternatively, working in 2 batches, sauté in a heavy 12-inch ceramic nonstick skillet over medium heat, occasionally tossing with the silicone spatula until golden highlights appear (4-5 minutes). A nonstick pan is essential. Spaetzle requires copious amounts of oil to prevent sticking to regular pans.

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