Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Spaetzle in its ice bath!
Yeah, it's New Year's Eve, 10:30 PM, and here I am blogging about spaetzle.  Again, 2 years ago tonight, I wouldn't have seen this one coming!  But this is my kind of night: low key, lots of good food, and reminiscing about spaetzle.  I'm a total dork - for many reasons, including the fact that I am blogging about spaetzle on New Years Eve, but also because I made it as part of my Sound of Music Austrian feast along with the paprikash soup.  I ended up tossing them into the soup, and I would definitely recommend that.

So, what is spaetzle?  Basically it's a homemade noodle, and far easier than the homemade pasta that I've made before.  You make a very quick and easy dough - it's literally just 3 ingredients - and then push it through a colander into boiling water.  That's it!  You scoop them out and put them into ice water to stop the cooking, and voila: spaetzle.  It's kind of messy but it's really fun - you just may want another set of hands; mine got pretty tired holding up the strainer and pushing the dough through the holes with the spatula.

But really, that's all you have to do, and you have these lovely, soft dumpling-like noodles that you can do whatever you want with.  I've seen them in soups, served with butter, browned in a pan, etc..  Your options are endless.  For me, tossing them into the paprikash soup was a home run idea.
Spaetzle in the soup!

Some notes about the colander: I know there is such thing as a spaetzle maker, and I kind of want one (perhaps it will appear on my registry!)  But truthfully it's not needed.  I have lots of colanders for some reason, and I tried out a couple, but finally decided on a metal one with many good sized holes. Small holes don't work well and will kill your arm as you try to force the batter through, and hole placement is key too - make sure however you are holding the colander is not going to pour the batter right into the water, and that the holes are on the bottom.  It sounds complicated but this was a simple method, and you end up with such great little noodles!  Try this!


from Smitten Kitchen 

2 cups all-purpose flour
7 large eggs
1/4 cup milk


1) Combine the flour, eggs and milk in a large bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

2) Prepare an ice bath.  Bring a large pot of well salted water to boil.  Set a large colander with holes anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2-inch wide over the pot.  Put on 2 potholders to avoid being burned by the steam.  Pour 1/4 of the batter into the colander and press it through the holes with a flexible spatula.  Boil for 2-3 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to fish spaetzle out and drop it in the ice bath.

3) Continue with remaining batter in 3 batches.  It is important to use only a little batter at a time - and even less if your pot is smaller - because if you push too much batter in at a time, it becomes one huge dumpling as opposed to hundreds of tiny twisty ones.

4) When you're done with the batter, drain the spaetzle well and toss it with a small amount of olive oil to keep it from sticking.  You can use it right away, or keep it in the fridge for a day until needed.

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