By Sophie Churchill
As a dish involving fried dough and cheese, kaese spaetzle is a true comfort food from Switzerland. Kitchen Project dates spaetzle all the way back to 1725 when it was found in literature, songs, and poetry. Writer Josef Eberle once wrote that Spaetzle was “...The foundation of our cuisine,... the glory of our country,...the alpha and omega of Swabian cuisine…”. While spaetzle originated in Swabia, a southern region of Germany, it is a beloved dish under various names in Austria and Switzerland as well. Kaese spaetzle refers to the variation found in Switzerland made with Emmentaler cheese. The word “spaetzle” is thought to come from the German word for little sparrow which mirrored how a hand would look when pinching off smaller pieces of the dough. Although it has many different names, it should never be referred to as “noodles”. Spaetzle has a much softer texture which is much more difficult to roll out. According to German Food Guide, mineral water can be used to soften the texture or the water can be replaced altogether with beer as they do in Bavaria! There are several methods to form the small “knobs” that must be four times longer in length than diameter. The most common method is with a knife and board called spätzle schaben. The dough used to be made with spelt flour instead of wheat due to its ability to grow in poor soil. Spelt was also glutenous enough that if eggs were not available, spaetzle could still be made. Now, kaese spaetzle is still enjoyed as a tantalizing dish best served warm during après-ski with beer.
Preparation Time: 1 hour
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¾ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp pepper
- 3 large eggs
- ⅜ cup 2% milk
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 ½ cups shredded Emmentaler cheese
- Sift together flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Alternately mix in milk and the flour mixture until smooth. Let stand for 30 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Press batter through a spaetzle press into the water. You may also use a potato ricer, colander, or cheese grater. When the spaetzle has floated to the top of the water, remove it to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Mix in 1 cup of the cheese.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook until golden. Stir in spaetzle and remaining cheese until well blended. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
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