For years, ever since we became a gluten-free household, I have yearned for the Berghoff spaetzle—Germany’s famous fresh pasta made with a Berghoff restaurant special recipe for decades. The dough is made from eggs and wheat flour and pushed through a spaetzle maker into boiling water or chicken stock. The result is tiny squiggles or teardrops of tender dough that can be served as a potato substitute simply buttered (with optional parsley), or served with any stew, or sautéed golden brown and served as a special side dish. I am not alone: Friends, my own family, and cookbook readers have asked me repeatedly for gluten-free spaetzle.
Gluten-free spaetzle is more than a challenge given existing recipes. Most use gluten-free flour, one or two eggs, milk or buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder and salt. And most, trust me on this, fall apart or simply dissolve after you cook them in boiling water. And they certainly don’t hold up to a hot stew. That gave me my first clue to developing terrific gluten-free spaetzle. I asked myself, what pasta holds up to hot sauces? The answer, of course, is Italian pasta. And Italian pasta is made with only two ingredients: flour and eggs.
So based on this insight, I developed a recipe for gluten-free spaetzle that does not fall apart or dissolve after being cooked, that can be served with butter and/or parsley as a side dish, can be served with a hot stew and can be sautéed golden brown.
These gf spaetzle are very flavorful, even when they are cooked in plain lightly salted water, because they are seasoned with gluten-free bouillon cubes.
I place the bouillon cubes inside a small self-sealing plastic bag, squeeze out the air, and then pulverize the cubes using a meat mallet. (You can also use the bottom of a small heavy skillet, a hammer, or any unbreakable, heavy flat surface.)
To make good gf spaetzle there are a few pieces of equipment necessary: a food processor to mix to dough, and spaetzle-maker to force the dough into hot water to cook.
A wide 8-quart pot so the spaetzle will have room as they cook, and a spider (a long-handled skimmer spoon) or a slotted spoon for lifting out the spaetzle as they cook.
And lastly three sheets of parchment paper to spread out the drained, cooked spaetzle.
Although my gf spaetzle use 6 eggs (and the 1,2,3, Gluten-Free Flour), it makes 8 generous servings, can be refrigerated for three days and reheated. When sautéed lightly, the spaetzle become golden brown and soft. When sautéed for a longer period, they become crisp and delicious almost like French fries.
Hessian Beef Stew with Gluten-Free Spaetzle has become our new family favorite cold-weather dinner, and Sarah’s new favorite lunchbox leftover.
- 1 ½ cups 1, 2, 3, Gluten Free Flour
- 2 gluten-free chicken bouillon cubes, preferably Herb-Ox, pulverized
- 6 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons of butter or nondairy alternative, preferably Earth Balance
- In the work bowl of a large-capacity food processor fitted with the steel blade, placed the flour and bouillon. Pulse to mix well.
- Add all the eggs through the feed tube and process until a thick, smooth dough forms.
- Transfer the dough to a separate container.
- Fill a wide 8-quart capacity pot ¾ full of water. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust heat so water remains at a gentle boil (not simmer).
- Fill the hopper of a spaetzle maker with 1/3 of the dough. Hold the spaetzle maker over the pot of boiling water and push the dough through into the water.
- Boil for 2 minutes, stirring gently once or twice with a spoon.
- Remove cooked spaetzle using a spider or slotted spoon into a colander to drain. As soon as it drains, transfer immediately into a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of butter or nondairy alternative and toss to coat.
- Spray a half-sheet of parchment paper lightly with nonstick cooking spray and spread out spaetzle to cool.
- Repeat with remaining 2 batches of spaetzle dough. Store cooled spaetzle in covered plastic containers for 3 days refrigerated.
- To serve: Toss with butter and fresh chopped parsley and microwave to reheat. Or serve with any hot stew
- To sauté: Film the bottom of a 12-inch nonstick skillet with vegetable oil or butter. Over medium-high heat sauté, stirring, until golden brown and tender. Or sauté longer until somewhat crisp.
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