Spätzle or Spaetzel are a very popular type of pasta in Germany, specifically in the Swabian region, within the German state of Bavaria, although they are also consumed in other regions of Germany, Austria and in the French region of Alsace.
They are a simple paste made of flour, egg, water and salt , with capricious shapes that they take when they fall into the water through a special kitchen utensil , called spaetzlera . They are cooked just like traditional pasta, but their preparation is much simpler and you can have a delicious meal in just a few minutes.
The word ” Spätzle ” comes from the word “Spatz” which means “sparrow”. In the Swabian dialect a “le” is added to many words, to make them diminutives, so “Spätzle” could be translated as “little sparrows” in English.
Look at the recipe to make homemade spätzel and accompany them in one of the most traditional ways, spaetzle with baked cheese, or Käsespätzle .
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Ingredients for the Spätzel
- 600 g of wheat flour
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 press for Spätzle
How to make homemade Spaetzle
We make the spätzel dough
- In a bowl, mix the beaten egg with the flour and salt with a spatula or wooden spoon.
- We add warm water little by little moving with energy to activate the gluten.
- There has to be a rather liquid dough so that when you tip the spoon the dough falls out, as you can see in the image.
- You can let the dough rest for about 20 minutes.
We cook the Spätzel
- We put a pot with water to boil. When it boils, lower the heat to a minimum and place the spaetzleraon top of the pot , as you can see in the image above.
- We are pouring the dough on the spaetzlera and pressing so that the pasta falls into the pot.
- When the spaetzle rise to the surface, we remove them with a slotted spoon and reserve.
- We are cooking in batches.
Once we have them all, we put them in a source with butter, and prepare the sauce to accompany them.
Spätzel with cheese (Käsespätzle)
One of the most popular recipes to accompany homemade spätzel is this Käsespätzle recipe, in which the Spätzle are accompanied with melted cheese and sometimes fried onions.
Ingredients for the cheese sauce
- ½ onion
- 2 butter spoons
- 50 g of Cheddar or Emmental cheese
- grated nutmeg
- freshly ground black pepper
- While the water begins to boil, melt the butter in a pan over low heat. Add the onion and fry over low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Once it is done, reserve and prepare the Spätzel as indicated above.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC
- When we have all the spaetzel ready, we put them in a container suitable for the oven, add a tablespoon of butter, grated cheese, salt and pepper. We mix well.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until we see that the cheese is melted.
How to accompany the Spätzle
Spätzle can be eaten as a single dish, as in this case accompanied by cheese, becoming Käsespätzle , or with spinach, or any other sauce, or they can be served as a side dish to any type of meat. For example, they are one of the traditional side dishes that usually accompany Hungarian Goulash .