F&W Best New Chef and winemaker Maria Sinksey’s family recipe for spaetzle, a rustic, ribbony egg-enriched pasta, is steeped in family tradition. Prepared in a bowl, the dough is tipped over a pot of boiling water then quickly cut with a hot knife, allowing the dough pieces to drop into the pot one at a time, guarding against sticking. It takes a little more finesse than more modern methods, but the resulting pasta holds up well during sautéing, the final and most crucial step. Be sure to preheat the skillet before browning the spaetzle; the hot butter gives each piece a golden-brown crust that’s irresistible.

Maria Sinskey
October 2020

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Recipe Summary

active:
1 hr
total:
1 hr 30 mins
Yield:
6 to 8
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Stir together flour, 2 1/4 teaspoons salt, baking powder, and nutmeg in a large bowl; make a well in the center. Whisk together eggs and 1 cup water in a separate medium bowl; pour into well in flour mixture. Using a wooden spoon, gradually incorporate flour mixture into egg mixture. Once blended, stir vigorously until dough is smooth, sticky, and stretchy, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and let stand at room temperature at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.

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  • Meanwhile, bring remaining 4 quarts water and remaining 1/4 cup salt to a vigorous simmer in a large pot over medium. Fill a large bowl with ice water; place a colander in ice water.

  • Uncover dough. Slowly tilt bowl of dough over simmering water until dough just rolls to the edge of the bowl. Dip a sharp knife into the simmering water, and cut dough into about 3-inch-long, 1/8-inch-thick ribbons as it reaches the bowl’s edge, letting ribbons gently drop into water, keeping the knife blade firmly against the edge of the bowl for smooth cuts. (Dip the knife into the simmering water after each cut to keep dough from sticking to the blade.) Repeat until surface of water is mostly covered with dough pieces. Dough pieces will sink initially as they cook and then return to the surface. When cooked pieces float to the surface, cook until firm and pale yellow, about 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

  • Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer cooked dough pieces to colander in ice water, and let cool 2 minutes. Drain well, and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with about 1 tablespoon olive oil; toss to coat. Repeat cooking and cooling process with remaining dough and additional olive oil.

  • Preheat oven to 250°F. Heat a large stainless steel skillet over medium-high. Add 3 tablespoons butter, and swirl until butter is melted. As soon as butter begins to brown, add about 2 cups cooked dough pieces. Immediately toss to coat dough pieces in butter; spread into an even layer. Cook, undisturbed, until each piece forms a crust on the bottom and is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Shake skillet to loosen pieces, and carefully use a spatula to flip. Continue cooking, shaking skillet occasionally, until spaetzle is mostly golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.

  • Transfer spaetzle to an ovenproof serving platter, and keep warm in preheated oven. Repeat with remaining butter and cooked dough pieces. Serve immediately.