Spaetzle is only one of the best German foods ever! Ok, I am biased. I love it, and have tried versions of it all over Bavaria. There are many, many ways to serve it and it all is good.
So, what is it? Spaetzle is a type of an egg noodle which looks like a little dumpling and is actually made like a little dumpling as well. You basically mix flower, salt, egg and some other ingredients and boil it until it is done. You can find the recipe for it here. There of course are variations of this dish that is widely consumed in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, Hungary, France, and other parts of Europe. It is what you put with it, or on it, however that pushes this noodly dough into my “favorite food categories”!
As mentioned, Spätzle (the proper German way to spell it) can be served with numerous types of food and thus can take on many flavors. Sometimes caraway, nutmeg or dill is add to the spaetzle dough, depending on what it is being made to accompany. Cheese, spinach, or pork liver can sometimes be found ground into the dough as well. Water is usually the main medium that the dough is boiled in, but sometimes broth is used as well. Spaetzle is usually boiled for around three minutes. When the dough rises to the top of the water or broth, then it is time to take out and dry off by using a colander or strainer.
Spätzle can be found in many different shapes. Sometimes the shape is determined by how the dough is prepared. Some use food mills, graters, or colanders to push the dough through and make the shape. The shape sometimes comes from someone just making up the dough and piecing little pieces off, just by hand. You can find this pasta in long strips or in short pieces, more like a dumpling. It all depends on who is making it.
What is Spaetzle Served With?
Käsespätzle is my absolute favorite German food. It can’t be beat in my eyes, and it is very hard to get me to try something other than this dish when I am in Bavaria. Basically, it is like the German version of macaroni and cheese. The noodles are covered with cheese (a lot of times emmenthaler cheese) with fried onion sprinkled on top. Other cheeses that can be used are gruyere, Swiss, or quark. Many times more than one of these cheeses are mixed together for this dish. Depending on what cheese is used and how the onion is prepared, this one dish can take on so many different flavors, all wonderful.
Another dish made with spätzli (the northern German version of the word) is Spätzle und Saitenwürstle, a dish made of lentils and sausages put on top of the spaetzle. Many soups and stews in Germany and the surrounding regions are made with this type of pasta as well. You can find it in beef stew, goulash, and even in sauerkraut.
Kirschspätzle is a sweeter version of the Deutschland cuisine. The noodles are mixed with butter, cinnamon or nutmeg and cherries. I have never tried it this way yet, but it seems delicious. Another sweeter way to enjoy this food is Apfelspätzle. The dough is mixed in with smashed up apple before it is cooked. After cooking, sugar, cinnamon and butter is spread on top, for a delicious dessert.