I can almost guarantee children will love Spaetzle. First of all, there's the name. Shpeh -- tslee. Then there are the funky shapes. It's made by dropping dough into boiling water, so the pieces come out kid-size and in all sorts of wiggly-looking shapes.

The taste is never overwhelming. In fact, I realized recently that spaetzle is a major comfort food for me. It has that reassuring warm tummy-filling thing going on. No weird ingredients, either. You probably always have the basics on hand -- flour, milk, and eggs.

It's a common food in Germany. If you've never had it, I'd have to say it's closer to egg pasta than anything else, but it's not really pasta, either. It is yummy, though. Those odd little shapes do a nice job of capturing sauces, so it's a natural with goulash, or stroganoff, or even osso buco. Like pasta, it can also be served as a side dish with just a little bit of browned butter.


3 eggs

3 cups flour

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

large pot of salted water

Measure the milk in a 2 or 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup. Add the eggs and whisk together. Mix the salt and nutmeg in a bowl with the flour. Gradually add the liquid to the flour, stirring (I use a whisk) until well-mixed. It gets thick, and sort of like pancake batter, there may be some smallish lumps that disappear when you cook it.

Bring the water to a boil.

I had this handy-dandy spaetzle maker available, so I placed the batter in the container on top. It drips through the holes and you run the little container back and forth. Kind of fun, actually. Note that the little bits of spaetzle are dropping into the boiling water below. They cook almost instantly.

If you don't have a handy-dandy spaetzle maker, you can accomplish the same thing by letting the batter drip through the holes in a colander or the top part of a double boiler. Don't worry about the shapes. The funkier, the better!

Pour into a colander to get rid of the water --

and, voila! Spaetzle!

a spaetzle maker

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