Where are the Noodles? Spaetzle Recipe
- Rachel Perlow
There was a Ukrainian festival nearby this past Saturday. Having gone out with Jason's parents to Pierre's in Morristown (I must have posted about this place before, it's excellent, off 287, exit 30B) for lunch to celebrate his birthday, we were not in the mood to eat at the festival. However, we made a point to go over about a half hour before they closed up to pick up some take out.
Delicious kielbasa with homemade sauerkraut and pierogies was our dinner. Last night we had the stuffed cabbage rolls. But what to have on the side? I wanted mashed potatoes, but we were out of spuds. Then, recalling Jim's post about noodles, I thought of spaetzle. Sending Jason to the computer to find a recipe (I've never made them before), he performed admirably!
The recipe I used is on the site linked below, but here's the ingredients and my notes. It was very easy to make, much easier than any other type of homemade pasta. And, since the ingredients are so basic, it's like the title of Arthur Schwartz' book, "What To Cook When You Think There's Nothing In The House To Eat."
2 cups flour (I used 1 cup AP & 1 cup bread flour)
1 teaspoon salt (kosher)
2 eggs (large)
3/4 cup milk
Although the website linked below says to use a "spätzle hex", which they sell, I used a potato ricer with the large sparsely holed insert (see picture below, this is the same ricer I have, bought at Williams Sonoma and available online at
sch1Nricer - interesting note: I think this insert was designed for spaetzle making because there is another insert with the same sized holes, but more closely spaced]. I melted a tablespoon of butter in the microwave for a minute, which also heated the serving bowl. Kept the bowl next to the pot on the stove. I filled the ricer with about 1/2 cup of batter at a time and strained the cooked noodles into the serving bowl to keep while cooking the rest. I did not use the bread crumbs, but did add some chopped parsley and black pepper, no additional salt was needed.
I have used the recipe in Joy of Cooking several times, and it is good, too.
I used to let the batter drip through a colander, which works -- but not well. Now I use the technique I learned from a friend who learned from her German mother-in-law: put a big blob of batter on a small cutting board that has a handle. Hold the cutting board in one hand. With the other, use a long, narrow metal spatula (like for frosting a cake) to slice little worm-shaped pieces off the big blob and scrape them into the boiling water. Dip the spatula into the water between each cut. You can go very quickly this way.
When I was at the Cordon Bleu, we were taught to put the batter in a pastry bag with a small round tip and squeeze the noodles out, separating them from the tip with a paring knife. This produces very neat spaetzle, but as my friend says, spaetzle is a homey dish, and neat is not really the idea.
My German grandmother always cut them off a board. She used her board so much that it tapered down to an almost sharp edge from being scraped for so many years. I never tasted any splinters though. I've tried it and it was difficult and time consuming to cut them as well as she did, and I'd get impatient and end up cutting glops of dough that looked more like dumplings than spaetzle. But I do love the uniqueness of each hand cut noodle. Machine produced spaetzle has never seemed the same.
I bought just recently a ricer (white plastic with 3 metal inserts). I questioned Sonoma Cust. Service about the 3 inserts as to what each one was specifically designed for, also that there was a smooth side as well as a sharper side to each insert and which way were you to put it into the ricer. There was no one to give me an answer. You said that you have this ricer; can you tell me which disks have you used for what.......it would be so much appreciated.
Are you sure you bought a ricer and not a food mill? I ask, because I just bought a new food mill (thru Chef's catalog) and it came with 3 inserts. Mine is metal and the sharp edges go up. It took my engineering son to figure it out. My ricer is also metal but is all one piece and I find it difficult to press as hard as need be to get potatoes thru it for mashed potatoes. The food mill was much easier. I used the large hole disk. The medium is for apple sauce; the fine for pureed baby foods.