Spaetzle originate from Swabia and are a popular side dish, especially in the south of Germany. We have described here how to scrape them traditionally by hand, including quantities for the dough. An alternative are kitchen appliances that can produce something similar. But you don’t need them.
Cheese spaetzle is a classic preparation of these special and delicious noodles as a main course. They can also be found on the menu of almost every Bavarian restaurant.
There are accordingly many recipes, but they often contain cream as an additional ingredient and also in the restaurants the spaetzle are often served in a semi-liquid cheese-cream sauce, which makes them quite heavy and fatty for us. Here we show the traditional method, for which no cream and also not much cheese is needed. The spaetzle are substantial enough and further flavour is provided by plenty of onions, which are prepared in two ways.
First, the onions are cut into strips, not very fine, but the size you are comfortable with. To do this, we peel and halve the onions and then cut the halves across the grain, so the pieces retain more structure.
Set aside the strips from one of the onions and cook the rest slowly in a pan over a medium heat with half the butter.
Patience is needed here, this process must not be accelerated by too high a heat. The onions should caramelise gently and this may well take 20 minutes or even a little longer.
This is what it should look like when it is finished:
In the meantime, grease an ovenproof dish or pan with 1 – 2 tablespoons of butter and preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
Now mix the prepared spaetzle with the melted onions and the remaining butter and season gently with salt and pepper. You should be cautious with the salt, because also salty cheese is still added.
Now we layer the mixture of spaetzle and onions in the oven dish. First a layer of spaetzle, then a little cheese, more spaetzle and so on. It is important not to mix everything with the cheese. The top layer must be spaetzle that are no longer covered with cheese, because we are not baking a gratin here.
Finally, cover the oven dish with aluminium foil, it should be reasonably sealed.
This now goes into the oven for 20 minutes, no longer please.
During this time, we mix the remaining strips of one onion with a little flour and then fry them in neutral oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes until golden brown. Afterwards, we place these roasted onions on a piece of household paper so that they can lose the excess fat.
Our cheese spaetzle come out of the oven and are sprinkled with the roasted onions – optionally also with chives cut into fine rolls.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients ( for 4 people):
Depending on appetite 200 – 250 g spaetzle per person
For 1,000 g spaetzle you need:
600 g spaetzle flour, 8 eggs, 16 g salt, 200 ml water.
(alternative: 600 g spaetzle flour, 12 eggs, 16 g salt)
5 onions, one of them for the fried onions
2 tsp flour
100 g butter
400 g hard cheese (mountain cheese and/or Emmental), grated
Salt and pepper