To me, the ultimate cooking accomplishment is making something from scratch. Something that you would usually purchase pre-made. Something like pasta. It is one of those things that I know tastes better made from scratch, but it also tastes just fine out of a box and tastes pretty darn good when I buy the fancy frozen stuff. It also seems like a lot of work and a big floury mess to make it from scratch. Plus I never got the pasta attachment for my stand-mixer, so why would I even bother making it from scratch?
Because The Kitchn posted this recipe and called it the “Easiest Pasta Ever.” I just had to trust that that was true. It was, indeed.
Spaetzle (pronounced shpet-zle): little pasta dumplings that originated in parts of Eastern Europe (Germany, Hungary, Austria, to be more specific). They are simple to prepare, and are hearty and doughy, yet delicate and delicious.
Seriously, they’re simple. No really. Very simple. Keep reading…
Traditionally spaetzle are made by pressing the dough through a colander or a spaetzle-maker to get long, even strands of dough. I didn’t do that. Aesthetics wasn’t my goal here; a delicious dinner was.
Ricotta Spaetzle with Browned Butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup ricotta (I used Farmer’s Cheese because that’s what I had. Worked just fine.)
- 2 tablespoons water
Get a pot of water going to boil.
In one bowl, mix the flour and the salt. In another bowl, mix the eggs, cheese, and water until frothy. Work that whisking arm! Once that’s all set, slowly mix in the dry ingredients. It is easier to get it all incorporated if you just add a bit at a time. You want the batter to be thicker than pancake batter and pretty gluey, but not too heavy. Really, though, I don’t think you can screw this up. As long as it isn’t soupy, you’re good.
When the water is boiling, take a spoon and scoop little globs of the batter. Just really the tip of the spoon. Drop the dumplings into the water. Keep going — do this until you have a bunch in the water, but not so many that it is too crowded. Let them boil for about 2 minutes. Once they float, they’re done. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and start the next batch. As I removed them from the water, I put them in a strainer and rinsed gently with cold water to stop the cooking.
Once they’re done, melt some butter in a pan. Let it brown, but not burn. Stir in some herbs of your choice (I used dried basil, oregano, and thyme because I didn’t have fresh — fresh would’ve been better, but dried was just fine). Toss with the spaetzle. Serve. Enjoy.
Next time, I think I’ll try mixing some herbs into the spaetzle batter. You could also throw some veggies into the dish — some meaty mushrooms would be delicious, I’m sure. Get creative!
Really, truly simple and delicious. The best parts of this dish are that 1) aside from the cheese, I always have the ingredients in my kitchen and 2) it was simple enough to make on a lazy night when I wanted something more than a frozen pizza but didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. Perfect.