Spaetzel with Fresh Herbs

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Every time I enter a Sur la Table, Williams-Sonoma, or any establishment that sells kitchen equipment I fantasize about buying one of everything. Sadly, my small kitchen is almost at full capacity and I can hardly open a cupboard or drawer without various cooking and baking gadgets falling out. And then you factor in that I really can’t afford one of everything (or even one of 1/100 of everything [if that]) and I realize improvising is not only fun, but also economical. I remember the days before even having a rolling pin when I just used a red wine bottle. A good home cook should be able to substitute ingredients or devices as needed.

But that’s not to say I don’t have one or two single-use gadgets that vastly improve my life. And even though I so rarely use some of them I smile when I dust them off, as I know they make cooking so much easier.

Before embarking on the adventure of making spaetzel I tried to read almost every review on zee interwebz. I not only wanted a tasty spaetzel, I also wanted an easy method. Long before a spaetzel maker was invented, people made do without. If millions of people could do it without a device I figured I could, but I quickly realized I had no desire trying to press gooey dough through a strainer over steamy, boiling water. So, I headed to my local cooking store and bought a single-use device for a very reasonable price.

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If you feel like improvising and using a colander, DO IT! Use a colander with holes about 1/4 of an inch wide and using a flexible spatula, press the spaetzel dough (or is it batter?) through the holes. But really, I promise a spaetzel maker is way easier and pretty cheap.

Spaetzel with Fresh Herbs

Adapted from Wolfgang Puck

After searching high and low for a spaetzel recipe, I finally stumbled across one from Wolfgang Puck. While I was underwhelmed after visits to three of his restaurants (I’m sure they would have been 5 star experiences had he actually been in the kitchen making my food), I couldn’t think of a better recipe source. And he (and his recipe) definitely didn’t disappoint. They managed to be light but had a bit of bite and chew left in them.

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 pound all purpose flour (I use the “spoon and sweep” method of measuring flour and found it equaled 3 cups plus 2.5 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus healthy drizzle olive oil
  • Salt Pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced dill

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks, egg, and milk together.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until blended. Do not over mix at this stage. Cover the bowl and refrigerate. Allow the batter to rest for at least 1 hour (or overnight).

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Bring salted water to a boil in a large pan.

Using a spaetzel maker (or other method), press spaetzel batter into boiling water. Cook for approximately 3 minutes (it helps to cook in batches, to ensure spaetzel doesn’t stick).

Transfer cooked spaetzle to a bowl of ice water to shock. When cool to the touch, drain well. Stir in a healthy drizzle of olive oil (about 1 1/2  – 2 tablespoons). (At this point you can cover and refrigerate up to 2 days) <–Those were Wolfgang’s directions. I found that on day 2 the spaetzel was more gummy, but still fine. I would recommend cooking the same day.

When ready to serve, heat a scant 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add the spaetzel but DO NOT stir for 2-3 minutes. You want the spaetzel to slightly brown. After a few minutes, stir in the unsalted butter. Continue to cook for a few more minutes until thoroughly heated and lightly browned. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with freshly chopped herbs. Serve immediately.

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