Have you had spätzle (spaetzle)? These classic German noodles are made with eggs and flour and are somewhat similar to dumplings, except they’re made into noodle like shapes.
A sprig of parsley is a must when it comes to serving any German food. At least, that’s how it was done when I was growing up!
Actually, my family originated from the middle part of Germany where we were more likely to eat potatoes than spaetzle. Spaetzle weren’t a staple of my childhood, but after having shared many meals with fellow German immigrants, they have become a favorite of ours.
The day we got our very own spaetzle press, was a very good day. It makes the whole process much easier but you can make spaetzle by pushing the dough through a collander or cutting the dough off a wooden cutting board (a finicky process).
In classic German tradition, spaetzle doesn’t have a lot of herbs and spices. In fact, the standard recipe just has salt. More adventurous cooks may add a bit of pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Perhaps the subdued flavor is because spaetzle is typically served with caramelized onions, fried with bits of bacon or served as the humble sidekick to flavorful dishes like goulash, rouladen or wiener schnitzel.
Spaetlze with goulash and a sprig of parsley!
My kids love them just the way they are. But I think there’s room for experimenting. What about adding some basil and oregano in the mix and topping with a fresh tomato sauce? Or spinach spaetzle? Maybe beet spaetzle or parmesan cheese spaetzle? My kids would probably revolt, but one day!
Until then, here’s the recipe my sister passed on to me. She got the recipe from her mother-in-law who lives in a quaint Southern German town where spaetzle is a staple.
Consider doubling the recipe so you can enjoy fried spaetzle. Some would argue tossing spaetzle in a little bacon grease is the only way to truly enjoy spaetzle!
How to Make German Noodles or Spaetzle or Spätzle
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp of butter for serving
- Mix flour and salt in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the center of the flour and add eggs.
- Using a sturdy wooden spoon mix together pulling in flour from the sides. Not all of the flour will be incorporated.
- Gradually add just enough water to make a thick, sticky, stiff dough that incorporates all the flour. It will be a stretchy big lump.
- Cover with towel and let rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Fill spaetzle press or potato ricer with dough and press into boiling water. Only add one batch at a time to allow plenty of room for noodles to cook. Or, place a bit of dough at a time in a colander and push through holes using the back of a spoon.
- Allow noodles to cook for 2 to 3 minutes until they rise to the top and float.
- Remove with slotted spoon into a colander to drain well. Place in serving dish and add a pat of butter to prevent them from sticking.
- If serving later, rinse freshly cooked spaetzle with cold water.
Oh, one more thing – and this is really, really important. When washing your spaetzle press and utensils use COLD water until all doughy parts have been removed. Warm or hot water will only bake the dough onto any tools and make it almost impossible to remove. Trust us – been there done that! Use cold water first, then finish with warm soapy water.
Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas to make home cooking easy and enjoyable. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener.