Speatzle is, essentially, egg noodles that carefully toe that line between pasta and dumpling, and they are, without a doubt, the easiest pasta I've ever made at home. The trick, of course, is shaping them, and while there are super cheap, extra reliable spaetzle makers, there are also many ways of improvising at home, including pushing the noodles through a large-holed colander, and using this crazy knife technique so common in Austria. I opted to turn my large-holed, flat cheese grater into a makeshift dumpling plopper, and it sure worked like a dream! I just plopped my dough over the top and rubbed rubber spatula back and forth across the large holes to push the batter through. I'll probably get a maker soon enough (probably in preparation for winter) but for now, my grater will work.
2 cups flour
1/3 cup water, milk or whey
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Go ahead and make it smooth. You want it to drip off the spoon in globs—not runny, but not kneadable. Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or a couple days, if you're a make ahead-er.
When you're ready to eat, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice water bath. Then, cook them. The idea is let little blobs of the dough fall directly into the boiling water. This video shows the idea better than any other I found, and he does not use a special tool, just a steamer insert and a big pan. I tell you, my big hole cheese grater worked like a dream. If you have a colander with large holes, that will also work well.
I did this batch 1/2 at a time and it filled the pan about right. After you've finished rubbing the batter into the water, give it a stir and wait about 30 seconds, then scoop the noodles out with a slotted spoon or strainer, and put them in the ice water to stop cooking. Proceed with the remaining batter, following the same steps, then drain them and use them for your favorite noodle dish. We dumped ours into chicken noodle soup. It was easily 3 times the noodles we needed, but it was amazing.
- I used whey leftover from draining homemade yogurt. It worked and I didn't waste the whey.
- You probably don't have to let the dough rest, but, in my experience, batters, doughs, pastas, and breads always work better with a little time in which the gluten relaxes. Even the time it takes to make the rest of your dinner would probably be enough time for it. Just make the batter, let it rest in the refrigerator while you make a salad, chop some herbs, prepare a sauce, set the table, etc., then throw in those dumplings and you're ready to eat!