Spaetzle are tiny dumplings. The name literally means “little sparrow” in German, and with a bit of imagination, these pea-sized dumplings do, indeed, look like tiny birds. The traditional recipe for spaetzle is loaded with eggs and butter. This low-fat version omits the yolks and generously uses fresh herbs for flavor and richness. It goes particularly well with meat and poultry dishes made with sauces.
The easiest way to make spaetzle is to use a spaetzle maker.
Serves6 to 8
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe CourseSide Dish
Dietary ConsiderationHalal, Kosher, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegetarian
Taste and TextureHerby, Light
- 2 egg whites
- 1 whole egg (or 2 more whites)
- 1 cup skim milk
- ½ cup minced fresh herbs (basil, oregano, tarragon, thyme, chervil, chives, and/or flat-leaf parsley)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 cups flour (approximately)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (optional)
Combine the egg whites, egg, milk, 6 tablespoons herbs, salt (I use 1 scant teaspoon), pepper, and nutmeg in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Sift in the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon to obtain a loose, sticky batter. (It should be the consistency of apple sauce. If it’s too thin, add a little flour.)
Bring at least 2 quarts water to a rolling boil in a large, deep saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Place a spaetzle maker over the pan, load it with dough, and cut tiny droplets into the water. Cook for 1 minute, or until the water returns to a boil and the spaetzle rise to the surface. Remove the spaetzle with a skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer to a colander to drain. Continue cooking the spaetzle in this fashion until all the batter is used up.
Transfer the spaetzle to a bowl and toss with the olive oil (if using). Sprinkle with the remaining herbs and serve at once.
2003, 2010 Steven Raichlen