Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Gruyere Bacon Leek and Sun Dried Tomato Spätzle

Gruyere Bacon Leek and Sun Dried Tomato Spätzle (0005) by Meeta K. Wolff

Mention pasta and one envisages a sturdy nonna shaping and kneading dough for fresh ravioli in a rustic kitchen. She dusts the well used kitchen countertop with flour, rolling, kneading and filling the pliable dough. However, if I were to tell you that Germans can make pretty incredible pasta too would you believe me? 

Germany’s answer to Italian pasta is Spätzle and it is loved throughout the country. Spätzle is just as much part of Germany’s identity and cooking culture as tortellini, spaghetti and ravioli is for Italy. The region of Schwaben (Swabia) is the home of spätzle and I discovered this speciality when I first moved to Germany to live in the picturesque town of Freiburg. It was here that I discovered to let go of the clichés and relish the sights and sounds and savor the smells and taste of this incredibly versatile country.

The cuisine I discovered here surprised me. Although I had trained under German, Swiss and Austrian chefs in foreign countries, I came here, to Germany, and experienced delicious simple fare made with a modest pride that is never found in the big luxury hotels of this world.  

Spring 2011 (0092) by Meeta K. Wolff

Spätzle quickly became my favorite dish and while the traditional serving of melted cheese and sautéed onions was on the top of my list, it was discovering new flavor pairings that made indulging in a different spätzle creation every week extremely gratifying.

Spätzle is made from flour, eggs, water, and salt. Comparing it to Italian pasta, the spätzle dough is moister and softer, like a thick runny cake batter. The dough therefore cannot be rolled out as is the case with Italian pasta dough. Instead a special spätzle-press or a spätzle sieve is needed to form the spätzle noodles, which are then dropped into boiling water. The classic way to form these noodles however is to spread the dough over a wet wooden cutting-board and cut thin strips of dough with a knife, scraping the strips into boiling salt water.

EGA 2011 (0077) by Meeta K. Wolff

My son has found the same appreciation for spätzle, surprisingly however he prefers my lighter and summery spätzle creations rather than the traditional cheese and onion one. Like this one, it makes use of simple ingredients and fuses a variety of flavors to bring a powerful and delectable dish to the dinner table.

Who said pasta was Italian business?

Gruyere Bacon Leek and Sun Dried Tomato Spätzle (0008) by Meeta K. Wolff

 

Recipe: Gruyere Bacon Leek and Sun Dried Tomato Spätzle

Printable version of recipe here

 SpätzleLeekBacon_0005-2-WM_thumb

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 400g flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 40g butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 leeks, washed and sliced
  • 150g bacon cubes
  • 60 g sun dried tomatoes, rehydrated in warm water and sliced
  • Handful sage leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 100g Gruyere cheese, grated

Method:

  1. To make the spätze mix together flour, eggs and 100g water in a large mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt and using your hands or a wooden spoon work the mixture until the dough resembles a pasty, sticky cake batter. Continue to work the dough and once air bubbles begin to form set aside to rest for about 10 minutes.

  2. Set a pot with cold water aside. Bring a large pot of salt water to a rolling boil. Press the dough through a spätzle press in portions into the water. Once the noodles begin to float to the top – approx. 2 minutes – remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into pot with cold water. Drain the noodles well. Follow this procedure until all the dough has been used up.

  3. Fry the bacon cubes until crispy, then remove allowing to drip any excess fat on a piece of paper towel. Sauté leek slices in the pan with the remaining bacon fat and also set aside.

  4. Heat up a large skillet and allow the butter to melt in it. Add the spätzle noodles a fry on low-medium heat, until they take on a light golden color. Throw in the bacon, leek and sun dried tomatoes, mixing well. Add the grated cheese and sage, giving it another quick toss. Allow the cheese to melt and incorporate well before serving.

  5. Serve immediately with some fresh cheese sprinkled on top and a glass of chilled Riesling.

Verdict

Gruyere Bacon Leek and Sun Dried Tomato Spätzle (0003) by Meeta K. Wolff 

It’s a fulfilling dish in every way. Light and quick to serve, it’s perfect for a weekday dinner. You can easily double the spätzle recipe above and once it is cooked, spätzle freeze brilliantly, allowing you to make a variety of other dishes.

I am slightly past the deadline for the current Monthly Mingle session. Juls of Juls Kitchen is my lovely hostess and the theme Fresh Pasta was just to good to miss up on. Even though Juls hails from beautiful Italy I wanted to show that Germans can make a mean pasta too.

Enjoy!

I’ll be celebrating my last birthday in the 30s tomorrow. The weather promises to be on its best behavior with lots of sunshine so I’ve invited a few friends to join Tom, Soeren and me for a bicycle excursion through Germany’s wine country in the Saale-Unstrut region. We plan on tking the wine route to stop at some of the vineyards and picnic in the hills. Perfect that it’s a bank holiday tomorrow and we have a lovely long weekend ahead!

See you all next week and I promise to share more Plate to Page news and pictures then.

You might like these pasta ideas from WFLH:

Spinach and Caramelized Onion Lasagna Fettuccine with Spicy Lamb Sausage Meatballs in a Piquant Tomato Sauce Spaghetti Alla Bolognese

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2011 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

34 comments :

  1. happy bday in advance ! the bicycle excursion sounds fun...hope you have a good time :-)

    cheers
    shruti

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  2. Wow- Yummy. I have not had spätzle noodles since we lived in Zurich. We are making flat buttered noodles this afternoon for supper. Must be the weather or the long-weekend......same wave length ;0)
    I am sure you will have a wonderful birthday with your friends and family and I will be on the edge of my seat waiting to read your P2P news and see your photos. Happy Birthday Meeta.
    Móna xxx

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  3. Aah Spätzle - I learned to love them when I lived with my Aunt in Vorarlberg where they use to make them with 3 kinds of really strong cheese and lots of brown onions.
    Come to think of it I haven't had them in ages... mjam.

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  4. This spätzle looks lovely! The pairing of the sun dried tomatoes with the bacon I'm sure is a fantastic one. I can see why your son would love this so much.

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  5. I love sundried tomatoes. this is just lovely. wish you a very happy birthday in advance. hope you have a super super year ahead. cheers!

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  6. Early Birthday wishes to you Meeta. Pasta looks so good, thogugh i have never had them i am sure it taste yumm.
    Enjoy tomorrow we love cycling here too, when ever there is good sunny weather we too cycle aorund, but alas not though wine areas.

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  7. I love Spätzle/Spätzli. Your Alps meet the Mediterranean dish must be succulent! A fabulous combination of flavors and ingredients.

    Mindblowing pictures!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  8. I love apatzle but had no idea how it's made. Thank you for a fabulous recipe!

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  9. Advance birthday wishes :) Love the pic of the sun dried and fresh tomatoes...

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  10. This post brings back wonderful memories of my German mother and grandmother making spätzle. I inherited my mom's spätzle-press and will definitely be trying this version. With these ingredients, how could we not love it? Thanks!

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  11. I have a love affair with Spätzle, too. They are so simple to prepare and such a satisfying dish! I'll damn sure try your version!

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  12. This looks divine! I love the addition of hazelnuts!

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  13. Happy Birthday Meeta in advance. Hv a lovely time.

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  14. Hi Meeta, I always make my own Spaetzle. Bin aber nicht aus dem Schwabenland! Macht ja auch nichts. Tolle Kombi mit dem Gruyere und Speck! Nur noch 28 Tage bis zum Abflug nach D. Hoffentlich bleibt das Wetter schoen. LG Kirsten.

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  15. This looks so great Meeta - I love Spätzle and it's one of the things I really want to figure out how to convert to gluten free - and that flavor combination? yum!!! I hope you have a great birthday tomorrow!

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  16. with dried tomatoes it must be awesome! In Poland we make one kind of dumplings/pasta in similar way as Spatzle one :)

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  17. Enjoy your cycling wine tour pre-birthday celebration. It sounds wonderful. Such an interesting article about German pasta too. Here's to the next decade Meeta.

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  18. Thanks so much for the recipe. I dont think I've ever tried spatzle so I'll give it go!

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  19. You don't have to convince me how good Spätzle is! I adore it. Love your lighter "summery" version Meeta! Just gorgeous!

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  20. Happy birthday Meeta!!! I enjoy reading your blog :-)

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  21. I have never heard of such a thing as a Spätzle - it looks bloody delicious!

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  22. I love spätzle and have always been intrigued to make it but haven't. Your recipe I absolutely MUST try!! Mmmm even with just plain butter tossed in I love it. Das ist sehr gut! Ha ha ha! And a super super happy happy birthday to you, my dearest sister! xoxo I soooo miss you!

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  23. I delegated the preparation to my wife on this one and enjoyed an evening off cooking duties last night.
    Nice recipe, it turned out successfully with lashings of flavour.
    We added a little basil and a sprinkling of dried mint and dill to the final serving as we didn't have any fresh at hand.
    Followed this light meal with our favourite Yemeni Matari coffee from The Tea and Coffee Emporium.
    Thanks for the post and the opportunity to comment.

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  24. This looks heavenly. I can't imagine a better bouquet of flavors. I have a little bit of bacon in the fridge right now.

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  25. Thank you all for your lovely comments on this! Glad that you are like this light spätzle version. Please do let me know when you try it out. Thank you also for the birthday wishes!

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  26. Love love love spaetzle - and hey, I didn't know you used to live in Freiburg? Gorgeous town. And as always gorgeous food & flaours! Love the cherry blossom shot too...

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  27. First time heard of spatzle. Got to try this to find out how it taste. This looks delicious.

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  28. Thanks for this gruyere bacon leek and sun dried tomato spatzle post. Everything looks so wonderful.

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  29. This dish looks SO scrumptious, homey and comforting, Meeta. :-) I have spaetzle when I go to Germany but I haven't yet made it myself. Will have to remedy that soon. :-)

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  30. one of the best sorts of pasta! I live in Austria and I simply adore the Spaetzle!

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  31. Meeta, this recipe looks so ridiculously easy but so fabulously delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe, because now I know what to make for my family this coming Saturday.

    By the way, I also plan to follow your recipe for the lamb biryiana. I love chicken biryiana!

    ~Virginia, aka HomeRearedChef (BlogHer)

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  32. Delicious, though I feel like this could use some greens though, like spinach. I'm a huge fan of color and contrast. Plus, veggies are good for you!

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  33. Wonderful recipe and lovely photos! I've fallen for Spatzle big time since living in Germany, but I've yet to make it. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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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