Ever since my wife and I snowshoed from Grindelwald to First in December 2019, we’ve been obsessed with the concept of the Spätzlipfanne! On that trek, we hiked past several barns and smelled the hay and cows, we crossed back and forth under a gondola, and near the top, we had our hopes of a “straight shot” to our visible destination when the trail routed us the long way (but safer way, so it wasn’t all bad). By the time we got to the top, we were starving! So, we went into the lodge and saw a Spätzlipfanne on the menu. We saw the picture, and it looked too good to pass up, so we ordered that, picked out some cookies, and poured a couple of beers…and lunch was served! After the meal renewed our energy, we pressed onward and upward past Gummi-Hütte and all the way to Bachalpsee, and it was incredible. As a fun fact that might only interest us, on our trek back from Bachalpsee to First, a group of tourists ran up to me and took a picture with me (quite to my surprise). They thought I was a Real Swiss Man!
Somewhat to our surprise, this dish actually turned out a little like a mac and cheese, as the goat cheese cooked down and coated our ingredients with an earthy creamy awesomeness that paired well with the salty notes from the bacon. We used our Sweet Potato Spätzli recipe as the base for this dish, but you can also easily use your favourite Spätzli!
You may notice that this one is extremely similar to Spätzli mit Gemüse und Speck. You’re right! The main difference is that we rely solely on milk (although very different milk) and don’t use any cheese for this version.
Time: 45 Minutes
- Spätzli of your choice. For the basic recipe, you’ll need:
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup of milk (or water, but milk is better if you’ve got it)
- A pinch of salt
- A pinch of pepper (white or black)
- You will also need a colander with medium sized holes and a spatula for this particular recipe. If you don’t have those, that’s okay…you can always take the dough on a cutting board, and “cut and flip” pieces into the water. But, the colander/spatula method is the way to go if you can.
- Mushrooms. We used white button mushrooms.
- Goat Milk
- Black Pepper
- Prepare your Spätzli batter (This is for regular Spätzli, and other options are available along with ingredient lists and process pictures in the link):
- In a large bowl, mix your flour, a pinch of salt, and a little pepper together.
- Crack and beat your eggs in another bowl, and then pour them into your flour mix, and stir to combine.
- Continue stirring as you slowly pour in your milk.
- You want the dough to come together smoothly and not be too thin (or it will fall apart in the water) and not too hard (or it won’t get through the colander holes).
- In a large pot, start to boil some water with a bit of salt dissolved in
- While the water heats, cut your bacon into strips, and dice your mushrooms.
- Melt a little butter in a pan, and add your bacon and mushrooms. Cook until the bacon fat begins to render, and your mushrooms soften. Then add your peas.
- While the bacon and veggies cook, turn your attention back to your Spätzli.
- Pour your dough into your colander, and holding it over your boiling water, run the spatula back and forth to drop Spätzli dumplings into the water.
- After a few minutes, when your Spätzli are floating at the top of the water, they are done boiling!
- Drain the Spätzli.
- Turn your heat to low, and add your Spätzli to the bacon and veggie pan, and stir to combine. Add in your black pepper here as well.
- Slowly, pour in your goat milk, and stir to combine. Bring the milk to a simmer, and then you can increase the heat a little (you don’t want to heat the milk too quickly, or you risk it separating). Allow to thicken and coat all of your ingredients.
- Plate, devour, and enjoy!
Of course you can make your Spätzle or Spätzli however you choose. In Swabia, the area credited with inventing the Spätzle, milk isn’t used. Instead the secret lies in using carbonated water, which is credited with making the Spätzle lighter and fresher. Purists beat the dough with a wooden spoon until bubbles form in the mix, but nowadays many people let machines do the work. You should, however, remember to watch for bubbles.
There are three ways to generate the Spätzle: The first is to put some of the dough on a wooden board and to use the back of a knfe or a metal spatula to grate? some of the dough into boiling and salted water. This method is the original method and takes some practice. Then there is a stainless steel pan insert with holes. You put the dough in it, and, using a spatula, spread the dough through the holes into the boiling water. These are called Knöpfle or buttons, on account of their shape. The method I always use when making them fresh is to use a Spätzlepresse. It is similar to a potato ricer and the two can be used interchangeably. These Spätzle are the most like the ones served in Swiss, Austrian or Swabian restaurants. The are long, thick and eggy (and delicious).