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Butternut Squash Spätzle

h
Hobsons Choice Dec 11, 2008 08:34 PM

We are always looking for new ways to prepare everyday vegetables. Each fall we can all find beautiful butternut squash at the local farmer's markets. But what do we do with it?

A person can only have butternut squash soup so many times in a season. And it tastes great as an addition to roasted root vegetables or mashed up in a creamy puree, but there has to be something more we can do.

I found the idea for something more at The Kitchen Cafe in Boulder, Colorado. My main course that night, rabbit prepared two ways, was served with a side of parsley spätzle. It was delicious and it sent my mind racing about other flavor possibilities. Butternut squash had to be a natural.

I cobbled this recipe together from a few different sources and after a little trial and error have put together something that I think works well. I hope you enjoy.

RECIPE:
Makes four servings

2 lb. butternut squash
4 tbls. butter
2 tsp. real maple syrup
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbls. + 1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Split the squash lengthwise with a sharp knife. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the two squash halves cut side down in a low sided roasting pan or casserole dish. Add enough water to the pan to come 1/4 of an inch up the sides of the squash. Place in the oven and bake for an hour or until the squash can easily be pierced with a knife. Check the pan during the cooking process to make sure the water hasn't completely evaporated. Add more if necessary.

Once the squash has cooked, remove from oven and let stand until cool. In the meantime, melt two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Scoop out the flesh of the squash and place in saucepan with butter. Add the maple syrup and cook with the squash for about 15 minutes, stirring often. The mixture should thicken significantly during this time.

Transfer the squash mixture to a large stainless steel bowl. Spread the mixture up the sides of the bowl to speed the cooling process. While the squash is cooling, place a large stockpot filled half way with water over high heat and bring water to a boil. Add pepper, nutmeg, milk, egg, flour and 1 teaspoon of the salt to the squash mixture. Stir together, vigorously, with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring until batter becomes elastic, about 5 minutes.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of salt to the water after it comes to a boil. Place a metal colander (must have small holes NOT slots - see photo here for example) over the boiling water. Add a cup or so of the batter to the colander. With a rubber spatula, push the batter through the small holes and into the boiling water (work quickly or the spätzle will get gummy). Set the colander aside.

Once all of the spätzle have risen to the top of the water, remove with a slotted spoon and place in a second colander. Rinse the cooked spätzle gently with cold water to stop the cooking process and keep them from sticking. Spread cooled spätzle on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Repeat cooking process with the remaining batter in separate batches.

When ready to serve, melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan (nonstick is ok) over medium high heat. Allow the butter to cook until it turns light brown. It should have a nice nutty aroma. Add the spätzle and saute, tossing gently until the spätzle take on a bit of color.

Serve immediately with main dish of your choice.

For step by step photos click here: http://nochoiceatall.blogspot.com/200...

  1. h
    hebr23 Dec 12, 2008 07:00 AM

    can you freeze spaetzle? for instance, if i wanted to make some this week and give it as a Christmas present next week, would it work? generally i know freezing potatoes is a no-no, but gnocchi are often frozen.... help please :)

    thanks!

    1 Reply
    1. re: hebr23
      h
      Hobsons Choice Dec 12, 2008 04:09 PM

      I have never tried freezing it before, so I don't know how they would turn out. I have stored the little dumplings (after boiling) in the refrigerator overnight and they came out fine when I sauteed them the next day.

      If you are going to freeze them, you should do it after the boiling step. Dry them thoroughly on paper towels after taking them out of the pot otherwise the water from the pot will freeze them into a block.

    2. sixelagogo Dec 12, 2008 02:43 AM

      sounds fabulous...! thanks!

      one question though: how thick or thin is your batter? Like a thick pancake batter? or more like banana bread?

      1 Reply
      1. re: sixelagogo
        h
        Hobsons Choice Dec 12, 2008 04:06 PM

        It comes out pretty thick - like a pancake batter, but more elastic. You develop some of the gluten when mixing for the 5 minutes.

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