Spätzle (pronounced "shpetz-luh") is a German-Austrian version of fresh pasta. Austrian chef Wolfgang Ban uses plenty of eggs, which makes the noodles very fluffy, and adds a pinch of nutmeg. This recipe makes 4 cups, which you can serve immediately with Ban’s silky crème fraîche sauce, or toss with a bit of oil before freezing.
Spätzle: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add 4 egg yolks, 4 whole eggs, and a pinch of salt. Mix on medium-high until combined, 10 seconds. Turn off mixer and grate a bit of nutmeg into the eggs (just a hint will go a long way!); add the flour. Start mixing on low, then on medium-high until combined, 20 seconds. Check the consistency: the mixture should have the viscosity of thick pancake batter. To achieve this, add ½ cup water, and use the whisk attachment to beat the batter on high; with the mixer on, add more water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until batter reaches proper consistency, another 1–2 minutes. (Makes 2½ cups batter.)
Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and set aside. To the boiling water, add 2 large pinches salt and 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil. Working in batches, cook the spätzle: Set the spätzle-maker over the pot. Add two ladles of batter to the sliding box; move the box back and forth over the grate and allow the batter to fall into the boiling water. Once the water comes to a boil again, stir the spätzle a few times to prevent clumping and to finish cooking, 1 more minute.
When all the spätzle are fluffy and floating on the surface of the water, use a strainer to transfer them to the ice bath to stop the cooking, about 1 minute. Next, strain them from the ice bath, place in a bowl, and stir in ½ tablespoon oil to prevent sticking. Set aside. Repeat with remaining batter. (At this point, you can freeze the fully cooked spätzle in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature before using. Makes about 4 cups.)
Cream Sauce: Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add ½ cup water, followed by ¼ cup crème fraîche, two pinches of salt, and a few gratings of nutmeg; stir to combine. Add 1 cup of spätzle in an even layer (note: sauce and spätzle can be doubled in a larger skillet). Add a few grinds of black pepper, and gently simmer to reduce the sauce, stirring occasionally, 8–10 minutes. As the water evaporates, the spätzle will become evenly coated with sauce and plump up. Meanwhile, finely mince the chives. Set aside.
When almost all the liquid is gone and the sauce has thickened up, taste and adjust seasoning. Add two tablespoons of minced chives and toss or stir to combine. Repeat with remaining servings of spätzle. Plate and serve immediately.
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