Do you recall watching automobile ads where late-model cars race up dangerously narrow mountain roads careening around the curves at breakneck speed? At some point during the ad, a cautionary crawl appears, Do Not Try This At Home. That’s exactly how I felt about this week’s FFWD recipe choice, Herb-speckled Spaetzle, a chewy, baby-sized pasta that is more German and Austrian than French.
I knew spaetzle spelled trouble when Cher, who is subtle in understatement, commented on the FFWD Questions&Problems Link, using terms such as “sticky dough” “patience” and “a spaetzle cutter would be helpful.”
That very same day, Betsy, who shares FFWD administrative duties with Laurie and me, asked if I’d made my spaetzle? She volunteered that she had completed the recipe, her first time making spaetzle, and noted that it was delicious.
“How did you make it without a spaetzle maker?” I asked.
“Oh, I actually found a spaetzle maker in the basement,” she replied casually.
Now, Readers, what are the chances that you’d have a spaetzle maker hanging out in your basement? In Germany, Austria, perhaps. Betsy lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Undeterred, Thursday morning I gathered my ingredients, bowls, spoons and patience to begin making Herb-speckled Spaetzle. The egg dough, easily mixed together by hand, was sticky but manageable. However, I had a total fail with the next Step: “pushing the dough through the coarse holes of a grater, a slotted spoon or a colander” into a pot of boiling water.” (Dorie’s instructions.)
I tried all three methods and two more I won’t discuss here. In the end, my sticky dough landed in the roiling, boiling water, producing a spaetzle of my own design. I won’t disclose how that happen because no sane cook would want to repeat it.
I had just put all the spaetzle pieces in a large buttered bowl to cool when my Realtor, Charlie Fahr, stopped by. It was a lightbulb moment. My real estate agent — who is German, who has family living in Germany, who knows a thing or two about spaetzle. After spending 10 minutes helping me pronounce the word correctly, Charlie walked over to look at my buttered bowl of spaetzle, and with a small smile (not a smirk), suggested that it’s probably “essential to have the right spaetzle making equipment .”
May I just add here that Charlie is a really, really good Realtor!!! I took no offense at his dissing my spaetzle.
Charlie left me to soldier on with my recipe. To finish it off, giving it some Dorie dash, Dorie suggests adding mushrooms and onions after first softening them in a butter/olive oil combo. Next I mixed everything together, cooking it until the spaetzle started to brown. I then added seasonings and a cup of chicken broth, simmering it until total evaporation.
Do you believe in miracles? What didn’t look particularly pretty, tasted delicious. Really, really flavorful and good. Therefore, on Valentine’s Day I am giving myself a $6.99 Spaetzle Maker. When not in use, I will keep it in my basement.