Cooking: A few minutes
Even today, noodle making retains happy childhood memories for many Alsatians: memories of their mothers and grandmothers making the traditional recipe from fresh eggs and good flour, rolling out the dough with a rolling pin, then putting the thin strips of dough on a quilt to dry. Even more evocative are memories of holidays when spätzle would be tossed with butter and served with special toasts to accompany rabbit stew or Rhine salmon, two traditionally Alsatian dishes.
Should we call them pasta or noodles? The original term is noodle, from the Alsatian "nuddele" that dates back to the 15th century.
This culinary specialty is still prepared with the same ingredients: wheat semolina and 7 fresh eggs to the kilogram. It looks unlike any other pasta. With their blond color, "spakles" are thicker and more uneven in shape. They have always been made by hand, shaped with a spoon and then dropped into boiling water.
Spätzle make a wonderful accompaniment to meat or fish dishes, grilled or sauced, particularly game with cranberries. L'Ami Schutz in Strasbourg serves them with old-fashioned kidneys with cream and fine d'Alsace, and they never omit the croutons. In Germany, they're served with chicken in Riesling and sausages.
If you want to cut the dough like Alsatian grandmothers used to do, you'll need to place part of the dough on a flat previously-moistened plate, and use a spoon or knife to scrape off small strips of dough into the boiling water.
- Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl to form a not-too-thick dough.
- Spread out small amounts at a time on a board and cut into strips using a knife dipped in boiling water.
- Drop into 4 liters (1 gallon) boiling water and remove when they rise to the surface.
- Drain on paper towels; toss generously with butter and serve with toasted baguette slices.
Tokay pinot gris
With the kind assistance of Heimburger S.A., pasta maker, Marlenheim in Alsace
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