One of the most common,simple, quick, delicious, economical and (in my biased eyes), one of the most beautiful dishes coming out of South Germany (Swabia).
When I grew up, this was one of the more boring dishes for me and my brother Wilhelm to grace our dinner table, because it showed up with regularity a few times a week. Even today, spaetzle are one of the stables of south german cooking. But, alas, I have moved away from my homeland many decades ago, so now spaetzle have become a treat, truly enjoyed whenever possible.
Spaetzle are hard to come by even in German restaurants around here. This is probably due to the fact that more cooks in american German restaurants go by the name of Pepe instead of Fritz and have never seen real spaeztle, so what you mostly get are “Knoepfle”, not “Spaetzle”.
Knoepfle means little bottons, so they are a small spherical pasta, while spaetzle derives from “little spitz”, which means little penis. (Many folks believe spaetzle derives from the word spatz, which means sparrow and would makes no sense at all. Also, many Americans let their spaetzle or knoepfle brown while sauteeing, which is an absolute no no in Swabia!
So there you have it. One of the easiest and fastest pastas to make is actually difficult to come by (at least any good ones). Go figure 😦
But, there is hope ! Following is the recipe for original swabian spaetzle. Please note that there is no milk or water added, just AP flour, eggs and salt. In times past, when eggs where not as easily available and as affordable as now, folks have had to stretch the eggs by adding milk or even water. Today that is not necessary anymore, so just stick to flour, eggs, and salt. With a little practice, it will take you less then 10 minutes to make about six portions.
Mix flour, salt, and eggs and beat the dough until it is elastic and forms large air bubbles. To shape the spaetzle, either use a “Spaetzle Brett” (spaeztle board) and a straight spatula, or, much easier, invest $ 20 and buy a “Spaetzle Press” online. If you are not so sure how to proceed with the dough and the shaping of the spaetzle, go online and check out one of the numerous good instructional videos ( But be aware, there is also a lot of crap online, so choose wisely ).
Fill the spaetzle press 3/4 with dough and press into boiling, salted water. After a minute or so the spaetzle will float at the surface. Remove to a bowl with cold water. Drain. To serve, saute in butter until hot, without allowing the spaetzle to brown. Top with “Schmelze”.
For the schmelze, melt butter and saute bread crumbs until golden.
(I like to use brown butter and add chives to my schmelze).
Bon Appetit ! Life is Good !