Cheese Spaetzle, a Swabian Feast

by meike peters

Cheese Spaetzle

This meal is a feast, one of my all time favourite foods! It’s luscious, rich and simply stunning. I am talking about Cheese Spätzle – originally from Swabia in the South of Germany. Spätzle are little noodles made of flour, durum wheat semolina and egg. They are thick, with bite. You press the Spätzle dough through a potato ricer into boiling water and then you layer the cooked Spätzle noodles with lots of good mountain cheese and fried onions –  just addictive! Whenever our family comes together for a few days Spätzle is one of our dinners.

I make Spätzle with a ricer. Originally they are “cut” into pieces by placing the thick dough on a little chopping board, letting it run into boiling water and cutting pieces off. I must admit that I never tried this. I prefer to stick to my ricer.

Yesterday I had a big dinner for ten at mine and Cheese Spätzle were my first choice. They are so easy to prepare, hearty and perfect for the cold season and – to me – there is nothing more beautiful than placing a big bowl of food in the middle of my long wooden table. It was a true feast, savoured by us all!

Cheese Spaetzle

 Cheese Spätzle

You need a potato ricer with large holes or a special Spätzle ricer.

I served the Cheese Spätzle with a wintery salad with beetroot on the side. As there were 10 of us yesterday I made the Spätzle dough with 27 eggs! Usually I calculate 5 eggs for 2 people.

For 2 people you need

plain flour (I use spelt flout type 630) 130g / 4.5 ounces plus more for mixing
durum wheat semolina 180g / 6.5 ounces plus more for mixing
organic eggs 5
salt 1 teaspoon

onions, medium sized, cut in thin slices, 5
olive oil for frying

strong cheese (like Appenzeller or Raclette), grated, 200g / 7 ounces

salt and pepper

Put the flour, semolina and the salt in a big bowl, add  the eggs and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is combined. Whip the dough at bit harder until bubbles appear on its surface. Add more semolina if necessary until you have a thick, viscous dough which drips slowly off your spoon. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to the boil.

Place an ovenproof dish (big enough for all the Spätzle) in the the oven and set to 100°C / 210°F.

Fry the onions in some oil on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until soft and golden brown. Grate the cheese.

Fill your Spätzle or potato ricer with some of the Spätzle dough, press into the boiling water and cut off the dripping ends with a long knife. Let the Spätzle cook for 30 seconds, drain and place them in the warm dish from your oven. Season carefully with salt and pepper as you must season every Spätzle layer. Sprinkle the top with some of the grated cheese and fried onions. You have to divide the onions and the cheese depending on how many batches of Spätzle you make. Place the bowl with the Spätzle in the warm oven again and continue with the next batch, always seasoning each layer and topping with cheese and onions.

Place the bowl with your Cheese Spätzle on the table – you can offer some freshly crushed pepper and more salt with it.

Enjoy your Spätzle feast!

A small but important note: Clean the cooking ware that was in touch with the Spätzle dough only with cold water. Don’t use warm water as it will make the bits of dough as hard as concrete.

Cheese Spaetzle