Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Spaetzle with Slow-Cooked Mushrooms and Onions

Spaetzle is under-rated and under-represented on the foodie scene. Quicker than rolling your own, spaetzle is almost instant homemade pasta. Smaller than gnocchi, it is wonderfully tender and comforting and readily soaks up whatever flavours you have going on.
You can make the batter ahead of time, store it in the fridge, and cook it up when you get home. Providing you are one of those people who leave the house from time to time. I have heard of people like that.
To go with this spaetzle, I just slow cooked some onions in olive oil and butter, added some mushrooms and garlic and continued to cook low and slow. Leisurely add in a splash of chicken stock, some white wine, salt and pepper to taste and fresh thyme. Adjust seasonings to taste, or switch it up. When your spaetzle is done, give it a quick sauté and then toss in the sauce. Serve hot.

adapted from The Ultimate Cookbook
Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarborough

1½ cups flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp milk

While you prepare the dough, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Use at least 6 quarts of water, but leave a generous amount of headspace in the pot.

Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg in a large bowl, then whisk in the eggs and milk until a sticky, wet batter forms. There should be no grains of flour visible but stop whisking the moment they disappear to avoid building gluten structure.

Create the spaetzle - press through a spaetzle maker, colander or slotted spoon into the salted, boiling water. Stir. Wait several seconds after they float to the top and then scoop them out with a spider or a slotted spoon. Do this in a few batches to avoid over-crowding the pot.

You can serve the spaetzle boiled, but I like to sauté it after, to give it more flavour and bite.

Sauté just-cooked spaetzle in butter or olive oil and toss with herbs, cheese, or sauce. Season to taste.


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