Little Sparrows

Little Sparrows

Don’t get alarmed, we aren’t talking actual bird-like sparrows, but rather Spätzle. Quite possibly my absolute favorite when it comes to a fresh-made pasta. 
Some of you Italian pasta purists might be asking yourself that very question…

Because start to finish they take 4 minutes
Because its a close inbred cousin to my other addiction – dumplings
Because you get all these nooks and butter grabbing crannies when you make them the traditional way
Because you can infuse the batter with all sorts of killer flavor boosters – like sausage, liver, cherries and apples… try doing that with penne.

Traditional Spätzle is really stupid simple. It is a soft noodle made with a fairly wet batter. The batter is spread over a cutting board and then scraped into salted boiling water. I’ve found an easier way to accomplish the same effect, is to apply the batter to the back of a wide spatula, then scrape the noodles off into the water with the edge of a knife or second spatula. I really don’t want to say not to buy one of those noodle extruders that are available,
but don’t…
What you will end up with is a fat, spaghetti-like noodle that has none of the character of a scraped noodle. No nooks – no crannies – no fun.

Serves 4 to 6

1 Cup AP Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Milk
1 Tablespoon Water
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Herbs (Thyme, Basil, or Chives) Note: you can omit this part, they’re just as good without them
2 Wide Spatulas
1 Large Mixing Bowl
1 Large 4 Qt Pot
Boiling water
2 Tablespoons Butter or suitable butter substitute
Strainer Basket

  • Bring the pot of salted water to a rolling boil and reduce to medium low
  • In the large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together and add the flour, salt, and herbs.
  • Beat well, scraping the sides of the bowl. The dough should be smooth and thick. 
  • To make the spatzle, Press the back of one of the spatulas into the batter to coat the surface
  • With the edge of the second spatula, quickly scrape off about 1/3 of the batter into the water at a time.
  • Work quickly, you’ll want to get about 1 serving into the water quickly so they can all cook at about the same time.
  • When the noodles float to the surface, they are done – this takes about 1 to 2 minutes – depending on how you sheet off the batter.
  • Pour off the noodles into the strainer and discard the water
  • Melt the butter in the same pot over medium heat and add the spatzle – tossing to coat. 
  • Remove and serve immediately

For a delicious savory alternative to the plain noodle,

  • Add 1/4 Cup minced veal liver to the batter and toss the cooked noodles in some browned butter.

For a traditional late-night snack version,

  •  omit the herbs and add 1/4 Cup Minced fresh cherries or grated apple into the batter and prepare as above
  • Brown the butter slightly and toss the spatzle with 1 Tablespoon sugar and 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon

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