Käse Spätzle, doesn’t sound so good when you translate it directly – “little sparrow”. Don’t worry, no sparrows were harmed in the making of it.
I prefer the indirect translation – German mac ‘n cheese. Although to be fair, Käse Spätzle is also found in Austria, Switzerland and Hungary. After my post last week when I unfavorably compared Leberkäse, a Bavarian specialty to spam (the meat that comes out of a can), and refuse to even try this Bavarian dish, I figured it was time to highlight something that I actually did like. So much in fact that it’s one of my favorite German dishes – Käse Spätzle.
Spätzle is a small egg noodle (Käse is “cheese”)which is usually served alongside a meat dish,. But can also be served alone as pictured above. It dates back to at least the year 1725, but medieval drawings show that it has likely been around for much longer.
The geographic origin of Käse Spätzle is not known. But unlike Trollinger a wine that everyone will let the Swabians have (it tastes like bad Kool-Aid), everyone wants to be the originator of Spätzle. Although any Swabian will tell you in no uncertain terms that it’s a Swabian dish. Regardless of where it came from, it’s oohy-gooey melt in your mouth delicious! So much better than the humble Knödel, another staple.
You can find Käse Spätzle at any Swabian restaurant. It’s also common to see it on the menus in mountains huts in the German and Austrian Alps.
The best Käse Spätzle is made from scratch, but the idea of making pasta from scratch seemed daunting to me. Luckily I found a step by step recipe for it here that looks relatively easy. Update: Soon after discovering this recipe I even bought a Hobel, a cheese grater like device that breaks the dough into small pieces. Not only did I make my very own Spätzle, I made it gluten-free! Not an easy feat let me tell you, but it turned out surprisingly well. Photos to follow, but be warned, they will make you hungry!