Deutschland, Soccer, and Giant Spaetzle

Last weekend was the final of what is one of the biggest sporting events in the world: the World Cup. I’m not a huge soccer fan per se, but I enjoy watching sports as a general rule, so I watched a number of games. For this week, I thought it’d be appropriate and fun to make a dish from the winning team’s traditional cuisine. Germany won, which put me in a slightly awkward position – German food isn’t exactly known for being vegetarian friendly. However, that has never daunted me before so it obviously wouldn’t do so now. I decided on spaetzle, which I understood to be a German sort-of pasta, and roasted asparagus, because internet research suggested to me that asparagus was a common enough German vegetable (ok, it said white asparagus was considered delicacy in the past, but close enough).

Giant Spaetzle: This is one of those times where what I intended to make and what actually happened were rather different. You start with making the dough, nice and straight-forward

1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 – 1 cup flour
A couple shakes of pepper
A pinch of salt

Beat the egg and mix all the ingredients together. Add enough flour that the dough isn’t all sticky, but somewhat handle-able. Simple yes? Well, after this is where I got into trouble. The recipe I was using as a template said you could squash the dough through a metal cheese grater to shape it. Maybe other people can, but I definitely couldn’t. So, my logical idea was to simply cut the dough into long strips with a knife. I had varying success as the dough was still pretty sticky. Once the dough was is pieces of varying size and thickness, I stuck it into a pot of salted boiling water. Boil the giant spaetzle until they begin floating, then take them out and saute for several minutes in a tablespoon or 2 of butter. Once nice and buttery, stick them in a bowl, and toss with grated cheese. I used an Austrian cheese called Amadeus, because Whole Foods didn’t have any German cheeses. Let the cheese melt onto the spaetzle and serve warm.

Spaetzle aren't supposed to be that big ....

Spaetzle aren’t supposed to be that big ….

So, the resulting dish was delicious. Cheesy, buttery, carb-y goodness. With some excellent asparagus on the side (toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and roast at 400 until tender) it was an awesome meal. But I’m not totally sure if it actually qualifies as spaetzle, which is supposed to be much smaller. My sister declared them giant spaetzle though, and that seemed appropriate enough for me. Naturally, one should pair this with a nice beer. I actually had a Belgian-style farmhouse ale because I didn’t see any German beers I wanted at the store. But if you want a German beer, I think a solid Hefeweizen would probably pair best. Song of the week: Down on the Corner by Creedence Clearwater Revival. This is just such a great feel-good rock song, and CCR are vastly under-appreciated.  Also, fun fact, CCR is not from the south, they are from California – in fact, they come from the same area I grew up in. East Bay for the win! And, even one of their more country songs, Lodi, is about rural NorCal.

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