My daughter’s currently studying abroad in Germany, which means she’s enjoyed quite a bit of spaetzle, or small pasta noodles. She even recently learned how to make it and was surprised that this dish isn’t new to me. So, in her honor, I thought I’d share my favorite spaetzle recipe in addition to an authentic one she learned from her host family.
When I want to make homemade, rustic noodles to go alongside Hungarian beef stroganoff or German sauerbraten I find spaetzle does nicely. I also like to make herb-noodles using fresh herbs my garden; in addition to fresh parsley, I use fresh oregano, thyme, winter savory and sometimes tarragon.
Wolfgang Puck’s Spaetzle Recipe
Here is the spaetzle recipe I use, courtesy of chef Wolfgang Puck.
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 1 ¾ cups milk
- 1 pound (about 3 cups) all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup peanut oil
- 2 ounces unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon fresh minced parsley
- 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 butter and egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix by hand until well blended. Do not over-mix at this stage. Cover the bowl and refrigerate. Allow the batter to rest for at least 1 hour.
Bring salted water to a boil. Place a perforated hotel pan (or a large-holed colander) on top of the pot. Place the batter on the pan and force it through the holes to form spaetzle. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked spaetzle to a bowl of ice water to shock. When cool to the touch, drain well. Stir in half the oil (at this point you can cover and refrigerate up to 2 days).
- When ready to serve, place a large sauté pan over high heat until it gets very hot. Add the remaining ¼ cup of oil and the boiled spaetzle. Let cook for 2 minutes without moving the pan to achieve a good brown color. Add the butter and start to sauté the spaetzle. Sauté until golden brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Finish with a sprinkle of parsley.
- Although an all-purpose colander will work (as indicated in the spaetzle recipe), I find a ‘Spaetzle Maker’ is much less messy. If you do opt to use a colander, make sure the holes are large enough to form the noodles. Also, be sure it’s stainless steel as plastic ones are a lot harder to clean and may not have enough holes to form the noodles.
Authentic German Spaetzle Recipe
- 320g plain flour (approx. 80g per person)
- 4 eggs (1 per person minimum)
- Approx. 350-400ml lukewarm water
Mix the flour, the eggs and a pinch of salt with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth paste.
Add the lukewarm water in parts and stir until the dough has the right constancy. It should be smooth/homogenous and a little compact (not too elastic or watery). Bubbles should appear in the dough. If you added too much water, balance it out with flour.
Let the dough sit for a bit before you process it.
Put a portion of dough in the spaetzle-press and press it in boiling water (add a little salt). If the press is empty cut off the dough with a knife – should be wet – and stir the spaetzle for a bit so they don’t stick together. When all spaetzle comes up take them out and rinse them with cold water (grandmas’ tip: add a little olive oil to the water) and put them in a warm dish. When the water is boiling again, redo the process.
Download and print the recipes here.
Have you ever tried spaetzle? What did you think?
Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.