Every self-respecting little village in Bavaria, Austria or Switzerland has it on the menu: Käsespätzle (cheese noodles). This quick, home-made pasta is made by squeezing the dough through a special flat colander-like equipment called a Spätzlesieb. But, as the guy from the organic food store explained to me with a heavy Bavarian accent: “It can also be made with an ordinary potato ricer, this is what they call the ‘lazy-housewife’s-way’.” In the Alpine countries, special Spätzle flour can be found in almost any supermarket. Outside these countries it’s hard to get, even in Berlin, so I used a 50-50 mixture of plain spelt flour and semolina flour and that works just as well. And yes, we admit: this dish is on the heavy side. After eating a full plate of Spätzle you’d better take the rest of the day off and spend the afternoon on the skiing slopes. The trick to make it less heavy is to serve it with a large bowl of green salad with a slightly tart dressing. Tasty ánd very good for the digestion!
Lunch or main dish, serves 4
Action Time: 25-30 minutes
4 small onions
3.5 oz/100 g butter
7 oz/200 g spelt flour
7 oz/200 g fine semolina flour
1 tsp salt, plus extra
6.8 fl oz/200 ml milk
10 oz/300 g grated mountain cheese (Gruyère, Emmentaler, Allgäuer or any other variety)
flat leaf parley, chopped, to garnish
Extra: aluminum foil, large whisk or mixer, potato ricer, skimmer
1. Peel, halve, and slice the onions. Heat 1 oz/25g butter in a skillet and cook the onions until golden brown. Keep warm under aluminum foil.
2. In a large bowl, using a large whisk or a mixer, mix spelt flour, semolina flour, salt, milk, and eggs to a firm dough. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, bring a large pot of water with a pinch of salt to a boil.
3. Add dough to the potato ricer. The more you add, the longer the Spätzle will be. Press the dough into the boiling water. Once the pasta floats to the surface, after 1-2 minutes, remove it from the water with a skimmer and set aside. Cover with foil to keep it warm. Repeat with the remaining dough.
4. Melt 2.5 oz/75 g butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the Spätzle and spread them out evenly. Sprinkle the grated cheese over and heat for a few minutes until the cheese has melted. (Or fill a casserole dish with layers of Spätzle and cheese en heat in a 300°F/150° until cheese has melted.) Divide the Spätzle over four plates, garnish with the onions and chopped parsley, and eat immediately. Goes very well with a glass of Grüner Veltliner or any other dry, crisp white wine.