“German Mac and Cheese”
It seems appropriate to post this on St. Nicholas Day, the day that the Tiny Kitchen Assistant asks me if St. Nicholas will make the journey from Germany to deliver oranges, nuts and chocolate to him for being a good boy. The Assistant forgets nothing, and he’s been asking about it since St. Nicholas delivered goodies to his Stuttgart hotel room in 2011.
The Tiny Kitchen Assistant has been to Germany twice in his life, tagging along on his parents’ business trips. On these trips, he’s developed a fondness for certain foods: bratwurst, pretzels, chocolate and spaetzle, what he’s long referred to as “German mac and cheese.”
You can buy spaetzle noodles in specialty stores, but you get the best results from making your own noodles. We have a real, German spaetzle press — basically a massively oversized garlic press — and make our own at home. I’m told that you can replicate the same press-effect by squeezing the batter through the holes in a strainer.
True spaetzle can either be served tossed with butter, or broiled with shredded gruyere cheese and an accompaniment of sauteed onions.
|Prep time||10 minutes|
|Cook time||20 minutes|
|Total time||30 minutes|
|Meal type||Main Dish, Side Dish|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Serve Hot|
- 250g All-purpose flour
- 3 Eggs (medium)
- .5 cup Water
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- Shredded gruyere (optional)
- Sauteed onions (optional)
|In a medium saucepot, boil salted water. The water line needs to be close to the rim of the pot.|
|In a medium bowl, mix together flour and salt. In a separate bowl (or measuring cup), beat together water and eggs.|
|Mix egg mixture into flour mixture. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.|
|I cook the spaetzle in two batches. When water is boiling, scoop batter into the spaetzle press. Hold the press directly over the water and squeeze. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Repeat with the remaining batter.|
|Lightly toss the spaetzle with butter. Can be served as-is, or...|
|In a greased baking dish, layer spaetzle and shredded gruyere, topping with cheese. Broil until the cheese starts to turn golden. Serve with sauteed onions.|
I usually go all out and make bratwurst, too, for a deeply unhealthy but very authentic German dining experience. Hey, sometimes you have to go all out.
The Tiny Kitchen Assistant requests this regularly, more often than he actually gets it. “This is my favorite,” he says as he mixes the batter. “Tell them that I can only mix, but I’m not allowed to get that close to the boiling water. Obviously.” He also recommends serving the meal with a side of grapes. Then again, he would serve every meal with a side of grapes. Let’s not discuss the portion of my farmer’s market budget dedicated to the purchase of grapes each autumn.