Thursday, October 20, 2011
As I mentioned in my previous post, my husband made an Austrian dinner for his father's 60th birthday. Along with his grandmother's Austrian Goulash, he also made Spaetzle. Before we get too far into this, you might be wondering, "What is spaetzle?". Well, spaetzle is a type of egg noodle of soft texture found in the cuisine of Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Hungary.
I also mentioned that my husband's paternal grandmother (Luise Kathrein Sparrow) came from the Tyrol area of Austria. Spaetzle is another one of the dishes she made often for her family. She topped it with butter and cheese and so that is how my husband makes it. However, I have seen other toppings such as crumbled bacon, onions, parsley, etc.
I love it when my husband makes this dish because (1) I get to sit back and do nothing in the kitchen for a change, and (2) He begins talking about his grandmother. When we make our family recipes, it brings back fond memories of the ones who used to make it for us. Whenever he mentions his grandmother, it always has to do with food... cookies, spaetzle, or whatever she'd make for him when he visited. Oddly enough, food is what I think of when I think of my own grandmother. We were lucky to have grandmothers who loved spending time in the kitchen!
Anyway, back to the making of the spaetzle. Along with the ingredients, you're also going to need a kitchen tool called a spaetzle maker. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 eggs (slightly beaten), 1 1/2 c. flour (sifted), 1/2 c. milk, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. baking powder. It should be slightly runny, similar to pancake batter but just a little bit thicker than that.
Next, fill a large pot with salted water and bring it to a boil. Set the spaetzle maker on top of the pot and pour about half of the dough batter into the spaetzle maker, sliding the hopper (the orange thing on our spaetzle maker) back and forth.
See the spaetzle falling from the bottom of the spaetzle maker? Another interesting tidbit I found is that before the invention of mechanical devices to make these noodles, they were shaped by hand or with a spoon and the results resembled spatzen, literally meaning "little sparrows". Was my hubby born to make this or what? (You've got to know our last name for that to make any sense...)
So once all the batter has gone through the hopper, this is what you should see in the pot:
When the spaetzle begin to float, time for 2 minutes until the spaetzle appear swollen and fluffy, like this:
Repeat again after removing the first batch.
For topping, brown butter (about 1/2 stick) and top with shredded cheese (about 1 1/2 cups). Serve hot.