I’ve been thinking about spaetzle ever since reading a post from Francois-Xavier at FXcuisine. He made an amazing apple spaetzle as a dessert – it looks so good. It made me think about a trip I took with a friend to her hometown of Chicago when we were in college. Her Austrian grandmother made us all sorts of food including spaetzle served with a meat stew. It’s one of those foods that isn’t just a meal, it’s a memory.
This morning I woke up inspired to make spaetzle for the first time. I enjoy making breakfast on the weekend, but this was even more special since I got to get my hands dirty.
2 cups flour
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 roasted red pepper
2 scallions chopped
2 tablespoons butter
Place flour on a work surface and create a well in the center. Crack 2 eggs into well and add milk. Use a fork to whisk the milk and egg together, then slowly extend outward to work in the flour until a dough forms.
I eventually gave up on the fork and use my fingertips. The dough came together in a matter of a minute or two. Give it a few kneads and form into a ball. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes. The dough becomes much softer and stickier.
Heat a shallow pan of water. There are tools specifically for making spaetzle, similar to a cheese grater. The dough is smeared through the openings and the small bits dropping into the water. I didn’t have one of these slick little devices.
I tried using a slotted spoon to push the dough through and it wasn’t very easy. I decided to take matters into my own hands (literally) and placed the ball of dough into my right hand. With my left hand, I pulled off a strip of dough about 1″ long and allowed it to drop into the boiling water. The spaetzle turned out a bit larger than normal, but looked wonderful.
When they start to float, they are done. It took just a couple minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl. I cooked the spaetzle in two batches. Next, heat a skillet and add the butter. Add spaetzle to skillet and turn to coat in butter. Fry until they begin to take on a little color, then add the scallions and roasted red pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes.
I didn’t want to dirty another pan, so I cracked the 2 remaining eggs into the spaetzle water and poached for 3 minutes. Place the spaetzle on a plate and place poached eggs on top. Before eating, run your knife through the egg so the yolk oozes down into the spaetzle.
This made for a wonderful Sunday morning breakfast. It came together quickly and looked like it took much longer. The spaetzle are dense and chewy, just the way I like my pasta. The spaetzle texture makes it easy for the little guys to latch onto the butter (or other sauce you may put with them). The scallions and pepper gave just enough flavor without overpowering the spaetzle.
I’m going to play around with the spaetzle a bit further. It’s versatile and would work in so many different preparations. I have a million ideas for how to use it in both savory and sweet dishes. I don’t know where to begin first!
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