Spätzle (prounounced shpaetzli), also known as spätzli, nokedli or galuska depending on what part of Europe you're in is somewhere between a dumpling and a noodle made of flour and eggs. I love these diminutive dumplings because they're fun to make (think Play-Doh Fun Factory), and delicious.
While I didn't grow up in Central Europe, there's something supremely comforting about a steaming bowl of al dente Spätzle topped with nothing more than a pat of butter and some flakey sea salt on top. I suppose it's a bit like mac and cheese in that sense, and there is indeed a Käsespätzle (Cheese Spaetzle) to fill that need. But Spätzle also makes the perfect foil for a hearty stew like a paprikás, and it even works for those times you have sauce but no pasta.
The beauty of Spätzle is that it's relatively easy to make with ingredients and equipment you probably already have on hand. The traditional method of making these involves scraping bits of dough into boiling water off a wooden board, but this takes a bit of practice and time, so I usually press the dough through a perforated surface. Anything with holes around 1/4-inch in diameter will work, such as a cheese grater, colander, food mill or potato ricer. If you grew up with a Play-Doh Fun Factory, you'll get a nostalgic kick out of using a potato ricer, and it's by far the fastest method, but be sure to use the large holes on the ricer.
If you get carried away making dumplings and end up with leftovers, warm them up the next day with some butter, cinnamon and sugar or a little vanilla, maple syrup and fruit for a breakfast treat!
- Add the flour, salt and eggs to a bowl and stir to combine.
- The amount of yogurt you'll need to add will depend on the size of your eggs and how viscous the yogurt is. Add 1 tablespoon of yogurt at a time until your dough will flow, but is not runny. Test it by passing it through your chosen spätzle making tool.
- Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and then use your choice of spätzle making tool to drop the dumplings into the boiling water.
- They are cooked when they float to the surface, so use a slotted spoon to skim the cooked ones off and drain them in a colander.
- Serve warm with butter.