Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Daring Cooks' Challenge No. 8 - July - Spätzle.

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks' July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

I have made pasta before but had never heard of spätzle before so I decided to concentrate on making this.  According to Wikipedia (so I am happy to be corrected if this is not right), spätzle is a traditional dish of areas around Bavaria, Austria and Hungary.  Spätzle translates as "little sparrow" and is thought to be so-called because the little rustic hand-shaped nuggets are thought to resemble little sparrows.   

I started off by making Steph's family recipe for spätzle with butter and breadcrumb sauce. This makes lovely rustic little nuggets of what I would say is a cross between pasta and our traditional doughballs (which we make with four and suet).

The breadcrumb dressing gave a fantastic contrast in texture to the doughy pasta and with plenty of garlic we loved this quick and easy meal.

I then decided to try making the spätzle the slightly more modern way into noodle shapes using a spätzle press (or a potato ricer).  Unfortunately it has been so long since I used my ricer that I didn't put it together properly and found the whole process so very frustrating, not realising I had missed out part of it until I was finished.  I will have to try again to see if I can make better looking noodles.

I decided to go more along the lines of a Hungarian dish and served the spätzle with a beef paprikash (recipe from Good Food).

Recipe - Spätzle - Steph's Dad's.
Serves 4.

Ingredients - 
2 large eggs
½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk
1½ cups (360 ml) (210 gm) (7½ oz) plain flour
up to 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of herbs and spices 
(optional – I added some cayenne and herbes de provence)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (3 gm) fresh parsley, chopped 

Method - 
1. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and any herbs and spices that you want to incorporate into the spätzle.
2. Incorporate the flour in small batches, by sifting in a small amount at a time and mixing until the flour is completely integrated. Keep adding flour until the dough becomes elastic, smooth and very hard to stir.
3. Boil a large pot of water. Dip a table spoon into the boiling water to wet it. To form the spätzle, fill the tablespoon about half way with dough, and release into the boiling water.
4. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Drain the water from the spätzle. Because it's full of fun craters where water can hide, you will need to drain it especially well. Toss with the chopped parsley.
6. Plate, and dab a bit of the sauce on each spätzle. Don't add too much – it's really more of a light dressing than a sauce.

Recipe - Butter and Breadcrumb Sauce - Steph's Dad's.

Ingredients - 
6 tablespoons (90 ml) (85 gm) (3 oz) butter (I actually used 4 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil, and it worked well)

½ cup (120 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) fresh breadcrumbs OR ½ cup (120 gm) (60 gm) (2 oz) dry breadcrumbs (either variety can be used)
salt and pepper, to taste

Method - 
1. Melt the butter... this can be done in the microwave, or on the stove. 
2. Mix in the breadcrumbs. If needed, gently heat further (especially if you store breadcrumbs in the
fridge or freezer)
3. Season to your taste.

I'm really glad to have made these dishes.  The spätzle makes a very satisfying meal.  It has a very nice bite to it - a little bit chewy - and goes very well with the goulash.  I will certainly make it again.  So quick and easy to do too.  It has also inspired me to make doughballs again - will be making some of these for stews once we head in to the Autumn.


  1. Oh wow! I've only made spatzle once...and to do that i pushed the dough through a colander over the pot of was a phaff and a mess...but i really love them! yum yum are so good completing challenges!

  2. wow the combination of spatzle and beef is making me hungry! I must try making spatzle soon, you make look so do-able :)

  3. Victoria - I must have been the only one to have never have heard of these! Well, that's one good thing about the challenges - definitely broadens my horizons!

  4. Nish - the spätzle are sooooo easy to make!

  5. The paprikash looks great! You did a wonderful job with the spaetzle too!

  6. Your spatzle look great! And pairing it with paprikash -YUM. Great, great job on the challenge!!

  7. Thank you Shelley. You are so hardworking - you did so many versions for this challenge!

  8. I admire and am impressed with your efforts to make spaetzle. Its still on my list to do. You've brought it to the forefront though and I may just give it a go next month.

  9. OMG that looks so good!!

  10. Yum! Your spaetzle look delicious. Love the idea of serving with a paprikash!

  11. Fantastic job on your spaetzle, it looks great!

  12. I also wanted to try the spatzle but I was so excited for my new pasta attachment! Your pastas look amazing! It reminds me of something similar my mom used to make when I was a kid, but I don't know the name, it probably wasn't spatzle :)
    Thanks for your lovely comment, I'm blushing....

  13. actually looks really good... and i've NEVER made pasta before so this is all new to me... but that sauce is damn fine, so I can imagine how fab this tastes... you're all about the dedication this month arent you?

  14. The beef paprikash sounds like a great sauce for the spätzle. This sounds like the kind of comfort food you need on a cold day... will definitely try it!

  15. Looks so good. I love spatzle - just plain with butter, even - and your sauce looks fab.

  16. paprikash on spaetzle sounds like an amazing combination. I love the texture of spaetzle too, and will make it more often after this challenge.

  17. Mmmmm. Spatzle and goulash reminds me of being on my honeymoon in Hungary :o) I've made that recipe for beef paprikash before too - it's great!

  18. The spatzle look great, I wouldn't have been able to tell you had a machine-related problem! Love that you made it the traditional way with paprikash!

  19. Thank you My Name Is Andy.

    Shaheen - it is amazingly easy to do.

    Carolyn - thank you.

    Monkeyshines - goes really well with the paprikash - perfect texture.

    Jenni - thanks a lot. :-)

    Renata - you are welcome - you have a lovely blog and I meant it - work of art!

    Dom - can't believe you have never made pasta!!!!

    Blepharisma - you are spot on!

    Angela - I had never had it before but I am completely converted. I am sure it is lovely with just butter too.

    Mary - me too - it's great, isn't it?

    Makey-Cakey - wow - honeymoon in Hungary sounds fantastic! Yes, it's a good recipe. I think it would be even better made with ox-tail - think I might do that in the Autumn or winter.

    Valerie - thank you. Yes, it goes very well with the paprikash. I just googled spaetzle and realised that most entire for it seemed to be served with paprikash so I went with it.