Okay, I confess. When I decided that we'd make spaetzle for the current Monday Mouthful challenge with ChefE over at Cook Appeal, I already had a dish in mind. One of my favorite restaurants in Strasbourg is La Corde à Linge, which specializes in spaetzle dishes (although I've already mentioned it here before regarding their delicious desserts). Usually, spaetzle is considered a side dish, but at La Corde à Linge, it becomes the main attractions. All of their dishes start with either the traditional spaetzle (which is what this recipe is based on) or a potato version, paired with a meat or veggies, and some sort of finger-licking sauce.
One of my favorites is the meatball and mustard cream sauce spaetzle--the dish I tried to recreate. I don't often cook without a recipe at all (although I often deviate from the ones I do use), and so this was a real challenge for me, trying to recreate a restaurant dish. And it was successful! I think I hit the mustard cream sauce almost exactly, and the meatballs were close, but I still have a little work to do on those. The spaetzle turned out tender and flavorful...and they were surprisingly easy to make, if a little time consuming. You can find the recipe here, but I documented some of the steps below for those of you who may be a little reticent to try making your own noodles.
I'll post a round-up and the next challenge separately, so keep an eye out! (It might be a little late as I am taking a short vacation to Zurich, Switzerland this week!) Okay, so on to the spaetzle...
Before starting, put a pot of water on to boil. After making the dough (to which I had to add a little more water than called for, but only took about five minutes to throw together), break a small piece off (about a quarter of the dough) and smash it flat with your hands to about 1/4-1/2" thickness. It doesn't matter if it's round--you'll just be cutting pieces off of it.
With a sharp knife, scrape pieces off of the dough. You can make them any size you want...I stayed rustic and made them in whatever size came off of the knife.
I scraped them off in batches because you shouldn't have more than one layer in the boiling water at a time. I found that the spaetzle was ready in about five minutes. So, while one batch was boiling, I'd scrape off the next batch. I set up a colander over a paper towel, and used a slotted spoon to remove the cooked spaetzle from the water to the colander. I drizzled just the tiniest bit of olive oil over the noodles, and mix them up with each batch I added to keep them from sticking together.
After boiling them all, I fried them in some butter and pepper. My frying stage was the least successful since I tried to fry them at high heat at first, but it turns out that they fry better at a gentle heat.
After they were done frying, I plated them up with the meatballs and mustard cream sauce! (See below for the recipe for the mustard sauce...I'll post the meatball one when I'm completely happy with it.) I do have to say, though, that I will definitely be making these again...
Mustard Cream Sauce
adapted from Recipezaar
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used an Alsatian Riesling.)
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
A couple of grinds of pepper
Bring cream to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat, and cook, whisking often, 10 minutes. Whisk in wine , mustard, and pepper, and cook until thoroughly heated.