The Boston Marathon is just around the corner and the elite athletes are tapering their running and increasing their carbs. Our bodies take longer to break down complex carbohydrates, thus giving runners more sustained energy.
I won’t be running the marathon this year (nor have I ever, or likely ever will), but in solidarity with my fellow Bostonians, I will carbo-load with them. One of my favorite starchy side dishes in spaetzle, a German boiled dumpling made with flour, eggs, milk and salt. It couldn’t be easier to make, but it’s a bit of a mess to clean up which is probably why I don’t make it more often.
Though, I usually serve spaetzle with chicken picatta, last night’s dinner was focused on cooking from the larder. I still have a hefty stash of tomatoes from last summer. Since I’m in the home-stretch until I’m knee-deep in tomatoes again, I’ve become more reckless using them in recipes. Some leeks in the crisper drawer were not looking so crisp. I further softened them in butter… the richness of the leeks played well with the spaetzle and offered a nice counterpoint to the acidic brightness of the tomato sauce.
Spaetzle can be adorned with fresh herbs (such as scallions, basil or sage) or spices (nutmeg is most common). I prefer mine plain.
2 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
¾ cup milk
1 stick butter or 1 cup chicken broth or a combination of the two.
1. Whisk flour and salt together.
3. Whisk flour with egg/milk mixture for about 30 seconds, or until just combined. Alternatively, mix in a food processor for 15 seconds. Let rest.
4. When water boils, push spaetzle dough through the spaetzle maker. (You may need to cook them in batches, depending on the size of your pot). Wait until they float to the top and cook for 1 minute more. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and put in butter broth dish.