Spätzle are basically little fresh pasta dumplings. They’re made several different ways. The oldest and most traditional way is to use a wooden board called a spätzlebrett and flat metallic scraperlike tool. The batter is spread on the board and scraped off into salted boiling water. This results in a longer dumpling resembling pasta more than the type that is served in restaurants and mostly at home.
The easier way to make spätzle is to use a ricer or a spätzle press. There are two types of presses. The one used here is like a rectangular colander where the batter is poured into a cup that is attached to the plate and rocked back and forth releasing the batter into the water.
*Note: Buckwheat flour is used in addition to all-purpose flour to give it a rich, nutty flavor. If you can’t find buckwheat flour, just use all-purpose flour for the whole batch.
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
- 2 cups buckwheat flour*
- 1 cup bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for cooking the spätzle
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons chives, chopped, for garnish
Mix together the eggs, buttermilk, and oil in a bowl. Add the buckwheat and bread/all-purpose flours to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Use the dough hook and turn the mixer on low. Add the salt and nutmeg and slowly add in the wet mixture. Mix for 2-3 minutes or until it resembles a somewhat thick batter.
Remove from the bowl and let rest for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place a large saucepan or medium-sized stockpot on the stove. Fill with water halfway up the sides. Bring to a boil over high heat and add salt, to taste.
Reduce heat to a vigorous simmer, just under boiling. (If the water boils too rapidly the dumplings will fall apart.) Lightly grease a bowl with vegetable oil. Pour as much batter as will fit into the press and push it into the water.
Give it a quick stir so they don’t stick together. When the spätzle rise to the top, allow them to simmer for 3 minutes and then remove to the greased bowl. (If you are using only all-purpose flour then you can remove it as soon as it rises. The extra time is needed for the hearty buckwheat flour.)
Continue doing this until all of the dough is used. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and melt the butter. Once the foam subsides, add the spätzle in batches and cook for 4-6 minutes (longer if you want it crispier). Transfer to plates and garnish with chopped chives.