Welcome to the lab, please watch your step...

Welcome to the lab, please watch your step.... I'm a busy young zombie just trying to balance writing, food and life. I love to cook and love to eat even more! And I promise I won't eat your brains—unless they are made from cake, then I can make no promises.
This is where I run my experiments and post the results for your enjoyment. I have a weird sense of humor, so bare with me, I promise the food will be good ;)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Thrifty Dinner: Kaese Spätzle or Cheesy German Egg Noodles

As hubby and I have been saving for our new house, we've been having a lot of thrifty dinners lately. But that doesn't mean you have to skimp on flavor! We're moving to our new house in two weeks, so I've been trying to use up some of our pantry to lighten the move.

I come from a german family, and if there is one thing germans are good at, it is stretching staples. Now, my family is originally from Bavaria so rather than traditional german spätzle I grew up eating big fluffy knödels (we'll save those for another time though). But when my Opa remarried, my new Oma brought spätzle into the picture. And we loved it.

Spätzle is really a very simple pasta, it's just a few staple ingredients (which most everyone has at all times) and can be combined with any number of sauces and vegetables, as a side or the star dish. The noodles are delicate but filling, so a little goes a long way. It's similar in its simplicity to Italian gnocchi.

Some recipes you find will call for fancy spätzle presses or boards, but I've found you can make do with a large holed colander and a spatula (or there is the cutting-board fling method, but that hurts my arm after awhile).

So let's get into the recipe, that's why you're really here afterall!

Basic Spätzle
makes 4 main or 6 side servings
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 large pot of salted boiling water
1 medium mixing bowl
1 electric mixer or a whisk
1 colander with large holes
1 rubber spatula
1 spider, or draining spoon for noodle removal
1 saute pan with butter standing by

1) Mix flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
2) Measure milk into liquid measuring cup. Add eggs and beat until mixed.
3) Add wet ingredients into dry in installments, mixing thoroughly with either a whisk or electric mixer until it makes a smooth batter. Batter should be thicker than pancake batter, but still drippy.
4) Pot of boiling water should be softly boiling (not huge rolling boil, just consistent even bubbles).
5) Over boiling water add half of batter into the colander and use the spatula to push the batter through the holes. I suggest holding the colander about 4-5 inches above the pot to prevent the steam from cooking the batter in the colander.
6) Once all of the first installment of the batter is through give the noodles a gentle stir in the pot to make sure they do not clump together. Cook for 3-5 minutes
7) Remove spätzle from water with a draining spoon or spider and transfer to either a paper towel to drain or into a pan with butter.
8) Repeat with the second batch. Optional, but highly recommended: Saute spätzle in butter until lightly browned. Use as a side with roast pork, or jager schnitzel, or serve with a riesling cream sauce and spinach. Or follow to Kaese Spätzle recipe below.

Kaese Spätzle (aka the Original Mac'n'cheese)
1 recipe Spätzle
1 small onion, sliced
Butter to saute vegetables
1 cup shredded cheese (traditionally Emmental or Gruyere, but you can use what you like/have)
Optional ingredients: spinach, mushrooms, winter squash, kale, etc. I used spinach because that's what I had.

1 saute pan

1) Melt butter in pan. Add sliced onions and cook over medium-low heat until caramelized and soft. If you are using mushrooms or any hearty vegetables add them now and cook down with the onions.
2) Add Spätzle to the pan and brown slightly.
3) Add Spinach or other greens. Saute until wilted.
4) Turn off heat, add cheese. Mix to distribute and melt the cheese.
5) Serve and enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment