Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spätzle with mushroom cream sauce

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.

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.


Elizabeth-W said...

Very nice. Very brave! :D

Heather said...

I had kasespaetzle for the first time last week and LOVED it. Thanks for posting your recipe. It looks like I'll need to get a spaetzle maker and a food scale.