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Spatzle: an Italian alternative for pasta

Spatzle with spinach; an Italian alternative for pasta

Spatzle: I had never heard of it, but last week I ate it in Monza/Italy. I’m on a little discovery tour of the Italian kitchen. Spatzle is an Italian alternative for pasta. Although Italian: it is a dish from South Tirol; the Italian part of Tirol, but it’s eaten in North Italy as well. The further you go down South in Italy the less chance you will have that somebody has heard from Spatzle.

Usually Spatzle is prepared with melted cheese and speck. Butter and/or Parmazan is a good combination as well. Just like Gorgonzola. I had a vegan option with tomato sauce, garlic and leek, but you can have any variation you like. I’ll only give you the recipe to make the Spatzle. The rest is up to you.

Proper Italian meal

In Italy Spatzle is a primo: the name suggest it will be the first dish, but if you have a proper Italian meal you will start with an antipasto (‘before meal’). This will usually be some ham, salami, olives or marinated fish. After the primo you will have a secondo. This is the main dish: fish or meat. It will come with a side dish of vegetables. After that you can have cheese or go directly to the desert; fruit. You meal will finish with a coffee followed by an ammazzacaffe’ (coffee killer; a liquor).

As you can see I have to do a lot of yoga to keep my belly in shape with all these traditional meals.

Ingredients Spatzle

  • flour
  • spinach
  • eggs
  • milk (I choose a non-dairy option)
  • water
  • salt, pepper and nutmeg
  • oil

Preparation Spatzle

  • Chop the spinach really fine in a kitchen machine (you can also mix it with the milk and eggs and put it in a blender)
  • Mix flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large bowl
  • Mix in another bowl the eggs and the milk
  • Make a whole in the middle of your bowl with flour mixture and pour your milk-egg liquid in the middle. Slowly mix in the flour mixture from the side up until you have a thick dough
  • Let the dough rest for 15 minutes
  • Take a large, high pan and fill half the pan with water. Bring it to boil, turn the gas down and let it simmer
  • Take a strainer with big hols in it. Hold it above the pan with water and push a bit of dough trough the holes. Make sure your pan is not to full and the Spatzle has got some room
  • Cook for about 4 minutes. The Spatzle should come to the surface and float. Make sure it’s not sticking together
  • You will need to do batch by batch
  • When the Spatzle is floating put it in another strainer and rinse it with cold water
  • When all your Spatzle is cooked it’s time to bake it. Do the oil in a large frying pan and add the Spatzle. Stir fry it for about 2 minutes
  • Serve it anyway you like. You can use the suggestions I gave you above. Up to you


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