Allgaeuer Kaesespaetzle - Cheese Spaetzle from the Allgaeu

Allgaeu is a beautiful region in southern Germany, in Swabia. I was there quite a few years ago when I first moved to Germany. This region does not only boast of picturesque scenery but also of great tasting food and wine.

A very good friend of ours, Rainer, originally comes from Wangen in Allgaeu. He used to be Tom's collegue at the university. Once we realized that he and his girlfriend Uli share many of the same intersts we became pretty good friends. Uli, at that time worked in Heidelberg, leaving Rainer here in Weimar. One of Rainer's hobbies were also cooking and of course eating. He was always complaining that he would start putting on weight.

Well, you can imagine that we often spent many a lovely evening cooking up some great recipes together.

The last meal we cooked together before they moved to Basel in Switzerland was this great tasting Cheese Spaetzle. I believe the recipe came from Rainer's mum and he was very particular in getting it right in exactly the same way.

He left the recipe with me and today I decided to make the delicious Allgaeuer Kaesespatzen, as they are called in Swabia.

So, what exactly are Spaetzle? They are noodles that are made from a simple dough and scraped into boiling water.

Here in Germany, in Switzerland, in Austria and in Italy you can find ready made Spaetzle in the supermarkets either dried or fresh. However, the tedious work to make your own fresh Spaetzle really will be much appreciated by all those sitting at the dinner table. Your kitchen will look like a bomb has exploded in it, but the smiles all around will make you feel so satisfied that you know that you will do this again.

I am sure Rainer's grandmother probably used a simple board and scraper to scrape the dough into the boiling water. Nowadays we can buy what is known as the Spaetzle press. There are many different types of presses available on the market, but I know a few people that still choose to use a simple board and scraper!

Another very important ingredient in making the cheese spaetzle is naturally the cheese.

Using good sorts of cheese is very vital here. In Europe we are spoilt for choice when it comes to the selection of cheese. The Allgaeu Emmentaler is always one preferred type of cheese and a Bergkaese, a cheese that is made during the summer months in the 70-120 days the cows graze high in the Alp mountains. A Gruyère would probably also do.

So, lets's get on to the recipe.


Ingredients:

Dough:
500g sifted flour - in Germany one can directly buy special Spaetzle flour, however, any other flour will do. I used just plain white flour.
5 eggs
200-250 ml water
salt

Cheese spaetzle:
500g onions - I prefer using red onions as they taste better. Cut in half and then sliced.
125g Emmentaler - grated
225g Bergkaese or Gruyère - grated
100g butter
Salt and pepper




Method:

Basic Spaetzle Recipe:
In a mixing bowl add the flour and all the eggs. With an electric dough kneader, start kneading the mixture. Slowly add the water until the dough in a sticky, runny mass. A good test is when it slowly runs from a spoon in a gooey consistency.

Set aside and covered, allow to rest for half an hour.

In a large pot bring salted water to a boil. Fill the press until the bottom is covered with the dough. Gently press the dough in small "blobs" or buttons into the boiling water. Sieve out each batch after approx. 2 minutes or when the spaetzle swim on the surface of the water. Repeat this until the dough has been used up.

Allgaeu Kaesespaetzle:
Preheat oven to approx. 180°C.

In a hot frying pan melt part of the butter and gently sautè the onion rings until they are soft and slightly caramelized.

Mix the two types of cheeses together in a bowl.

In an oven proof dish cover the bottom with some spaetzle, cover this with a layer of cheese. Add another layer of spaetzle, then a layer of cheese. Repeat this method until all the ingredients have been used up. The top layer should be covered with a layer of cheese. Salt and pepper each layer as you go along.

Spread the caramelized onions over the top. Sprinkle the top with a few butter flakes. Covered place in the oven and bake until the cheeses have melted - aprox. 15 minutes.

Serve with a nice chilled white wine.



Verdict:
What can I say? You sit down on the dinner table, looking at the hungry faces around you. Each cannot wait to tuck into this. The suspense, if strenuous effort in the kitchen paid off, is killing.
Once you cut portions into the kaesespaetzle you are greeted by a fantastic fragrance of cheese and onions.
A bite and everything melts into your mouth. The mixture of the cheeses and the sweetness of the onions is delectable. The spaetzle itself is light and spongy - perfect.

I say this often when it comes to noodles. Soeren loves noodles in all forms, shapes and types. This is so perfect for kids that you just know you will be satisfying their picky tastebuds. Although he picked out the onions he cleared away everything on his plate.

Tom found this too good to be true. His joke at the table was "An Indian that cooks better German food than the German!" "The German" being Rainer in this case.

Rainer, thanks buddy. We've got to do this again ;-)
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11 comments:

  1. Hmmmmm....what shall I say? I'll just wait until I am invited over to you for dinner. Yes, that's what I'll do. :)

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  2. The fruit of your labour I'm sure has been extremely delicious. Readymade's make our lives easier, but doing something from the scratch, gives a kind of satisfaction that can only be experienced. Sounds like a great recipe-will probably buy a spaetzle maker when I go to Europe-
    Is this a German variety of pasta? Will check out the Wikipedia link...I'm truly in love with your style of writing and committment towards making wonderful food-

    ReplyDelete
  3. The fruit of your labour I'm sure has been extremely delicious. Readymade's make our lives easier, but doing something from the scratch, gives a kind of satisfaction that can only be experienced. Sounds like a great recipe-will probably buy a spaetzle maker when I go to Europe-
    Is this a German variety of pasta? Will check out the Wikipedia link...I'm truly in love with your style of writing and committment towards making wonderful food-

    ReplyDelete
  4. Vaishali,

    You know what I always say, you are welcome anytime!
    Nandita, thank you for your compliment.
    As for your breakfast blogging - just go for it. Announce it on your website and whoever fencies in taking part they will. You have at least one who plans on taking part - me! Make one general post with your rules and then a reminder each week with a deadline. If youe want to give specific themes to the breakfast blogging then do that in the remindere too. Not much to it really.

    There seemes to be something wrong with my comment publisher. Although I have comments on this post it still shows 0 comments!?? Will have to check on it later.

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  5. When we first moved to Basel I really disliked spätzli but over the years my tastes have changed and now I LOVE them.

    This dish lookes really delicious!!

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  6. I think my husband would really love this. I have a tool that makes sev, so I imagine that if I put in the proper disc, it may produce something close to what you made. I'll try it out when I get the ingredients and report back. Hey Meeta - what's the correct pronunciation of spaetzle?

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  7. Cook formerly from SchwabenDecember 7, 2006 at 7:51:00 AM GMT+1

    In response to payal, it's pronounced "SHPAYts-leh."
    I have to seriously disagree with the author about the flour- bread flour, cake flour and pastry flour all exist for a reason - as does spaetzle flour. Any flour "will do" but it's not as good. However, I have yet to find a source in the U.S. (I get it when I'm there or anyone else I know is). She also makes what I've always been told is a grave error(& serious offense to the Schwaebisch) in calling them "noodles," as they are dumplings.

    The best spaetzle maker I've ever found was made by Silit - a curved, one-piece,cradle-type stainless one with a curved, plastic "scraper" to press the dough through. Super easy to use & best of all, super easy to clean. No idea if they're sold through anyone in the U.S., though..

    I also do not use a casserole or put the spaetzle in the oven - I find that if I put successive batches in a large bowl and alternately layer with grated cheese, it melts just fine; by the time the last batch is on top a good stir is all it needs. I also don't add any butter as I think there's plenty from sauteeing the onions.
    Spaetzle are also very nice as a side with a good sauce/gravy (they're commonly a side to schnitzel, for example). I wouldn't suggest eating them on their own - truly not very exciting.

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  8. To the Cook formerly form Schwaben.

    Thank you so much for taking time to give your feedback.
    To address your issue about the flour - yes I do agree that their are several different type of flours available and while we in Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy) probably can easily buy spaetzle flour many of my readers in India and USA cannot. That is why I used plain flour and also mentioned that it works with this.

    If it is a "grave error" I have made by calling them noodles than I do apologize. However, while researching the history and source of the Spaetzle every site has called them noodles types. Which I do too. As a matter of fact my friend Rainer's (the one from whom I originally got this recipe) also calls them noodles. But you are right in saying that as they are cooked like normal dumplings are that one can refer to them as dumplings too.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with these and I appreciate your valuable information.

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  9. Ahh, "cook formerly from Schwaben," please! It is completely irrelevant what one calls Spaetzle. As far as I am concerned, you can call them "spaghetti" just as long as they taste good. Maybe someday I'll make mine with real spaetzle flour, but until I find a source of this at my local supermarket, any old flour will have to do.
    Finally, if you think Kaesespaetzle aren't very interesting by themselves, then you clearly have not ever eaten well prepared Kaesespaetzle! I'm making up a big batch for Thanksgiving today (not very traditional, but ...) and they'll be the first dish emptied. And then there's that little restaurant by the road in Austria, just over the border from Garmisch ... ah, I digress.
    Thanks for a great recipe (a little different from mine, but I always like seeing what others do) and keep on cookin'.

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  10. Wonderful Austrian food... I love spaetzle

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  11. I enjoyed reading this lovely article!
    Even the comments are quite "old" I wanted to leave one myself.
    @Cook formerly from Schwaben: Of course people from Baden-Wuerttemberg are the "gods of Spaetzle". But being a neutral Franconian I have to admit that Meeta's "Allgaeuer Kaesspaetzle" look really good and original to me (no matter what she would call it or which flour she was using - ok, I disagree that you can call them "spaghetti"). Maybe I can recognise a little jealousy because Meeta made this dish in such a nice way?!? Bet many Schwaebisch would give an arm to eat her Kaesespaetzle. :D
    @Dennis: The "Cook formerly from Schwaben" did not mean Kaesespätzle are not interesting. He meant Spaetzle without any sauce or cheese.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta