This homemade spaetzle recipe with caramelised onions, bacon and peas makes a hearty meal that's full of flavour. It's perfect as a rustic German alternative to traditional pasta.
Don't you just love it when you haven't thought of something for a while and then you get reminded of it and the opportunity to make it. That's exactly what happened with this month's Daring Cook's challenge. The task was to make homemade pasta without using any motorized machinery. One of the suggestions was spaetzle. Now, why hadn't I ever thought of making spaetzle before?
Discovering Spaetzle in Germany
The last time I ate spaetzle was back the nineties in my year abroad in Germany. It was in a restaurant and as far as I remember it was served with loads of cheese, bacon and leeks.
It was heavy but delicious. The melting cheese and leeks clinging to the spaetzle. A really hearty meal. With that in mind, I wanted to make a dish similar, but if possible, not quite as heavy. Well, I'm not sure if I managed that but I did add some peas and serve it with a huge spinach salad.
A recipe was provided for the spaetzle but it didn't look anything like the spaetzle I remembered. I searched around online and came across Step by Step Cook with very clear pictures and step by step instructions. The only hiccup was that the recipes required you to have a spaetzle press. But looking at it, it was remarkably similar to my new potato ricer. I wondered!
What equipment do you need to make Spaezle?
A little more research revealed that you can use a potato ricer to make spaetzle. As long as you use the attachment with the large holes. And if you don't have a potato ricer, you can even use a colander for homemade spaezle. And if you don't have a colander? Well, I don't suppose you'd be trying to make spaetzle!
Using a potato ricer to make homemade spaezle
When I first pushed the dough through the ricer into the water I was a little worried as a lot of the pieces seemed to stick together. However, as they cooked I prodded them a bit and most of them separated again. Spaetzle is supposed to be very irregular with thinner and thicker strands and knobbly bits so don't worry if it appears to be going wrong, it will almost certainly turn out ok. I was really pleased with the end result and it was much easier than I would have expected before starting.
Spaetzle with peas, bacon and caramelised onions
- 200 g plain flour
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 3 onions peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp sugar
- 4 slices bacon
- Pinch black pepper
- Pinch salt
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan
- 3 tbsp peas
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
- First make the batter. Put the flour in a bowl and add a pinch of salt and the nutmeg. Break the eggs into the flour and mix with a wooden spoon.
- Add 100ml of water, a little at a time. Stir well so you have a wet dough/thick batter. Don't worry about one or two lumps.
- Put the batter in the fridge to rest.
- Put a little oil in a frying pan and fry the onions over a low heat. Stir every so often to stop them from sticking and burning. Add a little salt. If you want you can also add sugar but it depends how sweet you want the onions to be.
- While the onions are cooking fry the bacon in a separate pan until crispy. When cool, use a pair of scissors to snip it into small pieces.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil. Position a potato ricer or colander above the pan. Add half the dough and squeeze through. When it rises to the top and has been in the pan for about two minutes, lift out with a slotted spoon and put in a bowl of cold water. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Add a little extra oil to the pan with the caramelised onions in. Drain the spatzle and add it to the frying pan with the onion. Add the bacon too and the peas. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring so it is completely heated through. Season with salt if necessary and a little black pepper.
- Just before serving, stir in the grated parmesan. Divide between two plates and sprinkle breadcrumbs on the top.
Try my other homemade pasta recipes!
If you liked my spaetzle recipe then I hope you'll like these recipes too.
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Do let me know if you make this. Or any of the other recipes here on Searching for Spice. You can leave a comment below!