serves: serves 6
Spaetzle are a little noodles or dumplings made by pressing sticky dough through a perforated tool right into boiling water-one of the simplest of all the techniques by which pasta is made. These whole-wheat spaetzle are especially delicious, dressed simply with butter and grated cheese, and make a good alternative to potatoes as contorno accompanying roasts or braised meats.
The key to making spaetzle is having the right tool or utensil, with holes large enough to let the sticky dough pass through easily and quickly. You might have a colander that works, but I recommend that you buy a spaetzle maker designed for the job. There are different kinds-some slide like a mandoline; others extrude through the dough, like potato ricers-and both types are inexpensive and easy to use. And you'll use your spaetzle-maker often, I am sure after you make and taste a batch of spatzle di Farina Integrale.
2 large eggs
¾ cup milk, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1¾ whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup Grana Padano, grated, plus more for passing
You will need a ricer-style spaetzle-maker, or a colander with large holes (1/4-inch or larger); a heavy bottomed sauté pan, 12-inch diameter or larger.
Whisk the eggs, milk, and salt together in a large bowl until thoroughly blended. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour, parsley, and nutmeg, forming a thick, sticky, batterlike dough. If the dough is stiff, and doesn't drip like a batter, work in more milk. Let the dough-batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (at least 6 quarts water with 1 tablespoon salt). Fill the hopper of the spaetzle-maker with the batter, hold it over the pot, and press or slide it (depending on the type of tool), forcing the dough through the holes so it drops into the water in small blobs. If you don't have a spaetzle-maker, scoop or pour the batter into the colander or perforated utensil and press it through the holes with a spatula.
Press all the batter into spaetzle, stirring occasionally so they don't stick together or to the bottom. Return the water to a steady, gentle boil, and cook for 4 or 5 minutes, until the spaetzle are all floating and cooked through; slice and taste one to check for doneness.
As the dumplings cook, melt the butter in the skillet over low heat. Scoop the cooked spaetzle out of the pot with a spider or large strainer, let drain for a moment, and spill them into the skillet. Still over low heat, toss the spaetzle to coat them all with butter and evaporate excess water. Turn off the heat, sprinkle the grated cheese on top, and toss again. Serve immediately.