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.
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.
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?
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.
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|
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