Schwäbische Spätzle

I’ve told you a bit about Schwäbisch, the dialect spoken in the south of Germany around Stuttgart. Today I’d like to introduce you to Spätzle, the homemade noodles originating in that area. They are pretty easy and inexpensive to make… if you’ve got some upper arm strength. The secret to good Spätzle is kneading the dough until it is smooth and contains so much air that a few bubbles appear. This may take a few minutes, and truly builds up your biceps. Rumor has it that very few people would dare mess with a Swabian cook, because kneading the Spätzle dough builds up so much muscle that even a prize boxer wouldn’t stand a chance.

Ingredients for 2 to 3 servings:

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)

Combine flour, water, eggs, and salt. Knead until smooth and air bubbles appear.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a bit of salt. Using a spatula press 1/2 of the batter through a large holed colander or a Spätzle maker into the boiling water.
Cook until they float to the top, remove with a slotted spoon. Be careful – the water tends to boil over very quickly! Repeat with remaining batter. Toss with butter, parsley and cheese (optional).

Spätzle are a great side for meat dishes. In fact, one of the most loved Swabian specialties is Linsen mit Saiten und Spätzle (lentils with Spätzleand Frankfurters).

Linsen mit Saiten und Spätzle

But if layered with cheese, they make a great main dish called Käsespätzle. Once the Spätzle are made as described above, put them in a rectangular glass dish and layer with grated Swiss cheese. Cover with aluminum foil, place in the oven at 380 degrees. Once the cheese has melted, remove aluminum foil and broil until the upper cheese layer turns a light brown. The Käsespätzle are ready. Serve with a garden salad. Enjoy!