German Cheese Spätzle

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This is basically a German version of Mac & Cheese, but so much better than that orange garbage you get out of a blue box. My kids love it. I first discovered spätzle when living in Braunschweig, Germany, but it wasn’t until months later that I discovered how much better fresh, homemade spätzle is than what you can get out of a bag in the store. To make it you’ll need a special kitchen gadget (specifically, an inexpensive spätzle maker), but it isn’t expensive and doesn’t take up much room in the cupboard so I say go for it! If you don’t want to get the gadget, you can find spätzle noodles in some grocery stores.

Ingredients

3 eggs
1 cup milk
3 cups flour
salt
nutmeg (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
Butter
Onion (chopped)
Gouda cheese (shredded)

Directions

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Get a big pot of salted water boiling on the stove.

Make the dough for your spätzle by beating the eggs until they’re foamy and then adding the milk. Mix together the flour, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper, and nutmeg and then slowly add into the egg mixture until you have a stiff, elastic dough. Set aside the dough for 15 minutes while your water comes to a boil.

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As you wait, sautée your chopped onion in some butter in a non-stick pan until it is soft, but not browned, and set aside.

Add your dough to a spätzle maker and follow its directions to drop the dumplings into the boiling water. Cook them for about 2 – 3 minutes, or until they rise to the top of the water. Remove them with a slotted spoon. Melt butter in your non-stick pan and add the cooked spätzle, being careful not to crowd your pan. Let them sit until they’re slightly browned. Toss them in the pan and continue to brown.

Add the browned spätzle to your onions and repeat with the rest in batches until finished. You don’t have to brown them, but I find that its a rather bland looking dish if you don’t. Toss the spätzle with the onion and cheese. Garnish with parsley and serve with German Rotkohl on the side.

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I also have a version that includes bacon (the third ingredient in the holy trinity of German cooking–along with onion and butter). I’ll post that another day. It’s basically the same thing but instead of sautéeing the onion in butter, you fry it up with some chopped bacon.

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