for those of you who don’t know what spaetzle is, it’s a German egg-noodle dish, which can be served several ways. my favorite is kaese-spaetzle (with cheese), but it can also be served with a brown gravy / mushroom gravy. in fact, you could even use them as egg noodles in a soup if you wanted. it’s one of my favorite dishes.
it’s a fairly simple recipe, with just a few ingredients. so even when I was able to use regular flour, I didn’t really follow a recipe. I just added flour, eggs, and water until it looked right, and then started making it. it’s taken me awhile, but I’ve finally ventured to make it gluten-free, and I actually measured things out in case it needed tweaking. and it seemed to turn out pretty normal! (confirmed by a non-celiac). I’m sure the simplicity of the recipe helps to make it an easy conversion. so here it is:
2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used Bette Hagman’s basic GF mixture)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (which adds the stickiness back into the flour, since it’s gluten-free)
1/4 – 1/2 cup water
(salt to taste)
mix the ingredients together in that order, and start with just a 1/4 cup of water. you want it to be a wet-dough consistency, but not runny. so if after a 1/4 cup, it’s still too dry that it doesn’t really stick together and string just a little if you pull a piece up, add a little more water at a time until it’s a workable dough. (I apologize that I didn’t measure the amount of water I used exactly). but don’t let it become too drenched. if you accidentally add too much water, add another 1/2 cup of flour and 1 more egg.
then boil a big pot of water with a wide mouth. you’ll also need a metal scraper of some sort, anything metal with a straight edge will work, and some type of cutting board, again with a straight edge.
then you take a chunk of dough (I did a 1/4 of the mixture at a time) and place it an inch or two from the edge of your board, and use your metal scraper to sliver off a piece of the dough, and each time dip the edge of the metal scraper into the water, so the dough releases. as you drag the scraper back on the board, when you go over another thin piece of dough, slide the scraper forward again to cut it into the water. the reason you’ll want thin slices is that it gets much bigger while it cooks.
the dough is done really quickly (when it floats to the top of the water, it’s done), but I wait until I’m done with the whole piece on my cutting board before taking any out. and when I do, I pile it onto plate to let more of the moisture evaporate, and then into a cake pan. as for the water, if it gets to starchy, it’ll boil up really high and make it difficult to dump the scraper with dough in the water without burning your hands. if that happens you may want to dump some of the water on top into the sink before continuing. in fact, when I’m halfway done, I often dump all the water and start fresh for the second half. if you prefer a more mechanized way to press the noodles, people often use ricers, and squirt the dough through into even-sized noodles. I didn’t have much luck with this the one time I tried it though~ I found it to be messy and not too effective. but some people seem to love it. another trick I recently saw on tv that looked much less messy is to use the pasta insert of a pot: hold the pasta insert above the boiling water, put a glob of dough into the insert and then scrape the dough through the little holes. tiny noodles will “rain” through them into the water.
the amount of spaetzle that this recipe makes is enough for like 4 people to have large portions. (it’s hard to stop eating). but if you just want to adjust the amount, it’s basically 1/2 cup flour to 1 egg. and I’d try using a 1/4 tsp xanthan gum if using up to 1 cup flour and 2 eggs, and then I’d use 1/2 tsp xanthan gum up to 4 cups flour and 8 eggs. the 3 cups flour would probably be the perfect amount to fill a nice layer in a cake pan. but I’d start with my recipe, and add from there, depending on how the water goes.
for kaese-spaetzle, I grill up a TON of onions, either caramelized or just really cooked down until they’re nice and brown. I always add more onion every time and think it’s a ridiculously large amount, but it cooks down so much, that I always end up wishing there were more! so I use about 1 small to medium yellow onion per egg used (so about 5 with this recipe). and feel free to keep adding olive oil as it cooks~ you’ll probably use a lot. also, put them in the pan to brown BEFORE you start cooking the noodles in water, because it’ll take just as long.
so once the spaetzle is cooked, and some of the excess moisture evaporated, start spreading it evenly in the pan. then add the caramelized onions (you may even want to layer them, or mix them around so it’s mixed in really well). and then shred some cheese and sprinkle it on top. emmenthaler is my cheese of choice, but if you can find edam, that’s also used. these can be found in the specialty cheese area of a grocery store and comes in little blocks. it doesn’t take a lot of cheese~ in fact, it can be overwhelming if you use too much. about 4 ounces should be plenty. ( a smaller grater works nicely, because it’ll spread easier and melt better).
then put the whole thing in the oven at 350 degrees and heat until the cheese is melted, maybe 10-15 minutes or so. (in these pictures, the caramelized onions were added after melting the cheese and noodles in the oven).
for brown or mushroom gravy, I still like to make it with onions, but it probably wouldn’t need quite as much, maybe 2 smaller onions.
and for soup, you wouldn’t need to add anything.
the recipe is actually quite simple, I just like to explain things in detail, so that it turns out well 🙂
if you feel really ambitious, you could make some schnitzel to go with it. just dip some boneless pork chops in GF flour; or if you’re really fancy, dip them in flour, then egg, then GF bread crumbs. and fry it on the stove until it’s browned, and then cook it in the oven until it’s at a proper temperature (I go to 165 degrees).
the kaese-spaetzle is definitely a favorite for lots of my friends and family! the leftovers never last long at my house 🙂