Easy as wet + dry
For four servings, that’s 2 lightly beaten eggs and 1/3 to 1⁄2 cup milk for the wet ingredients.
For the dry ingredients, blend 1 cup of all-purpose flour (you can substitute part or all with whole wheat flour), 1⁄2 cup semolina flour, and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. If you’d like, add seasonings such as ground black pepper, chopped herbs, dry mustard, or grated nutmeg.
Blend to combine
With a fork, blend the wet and dry ingredients, starting with the smaller amount of milk and going up to the full 1⁄2 cup if the dough is too thick to work together. Rest dough for 15 minutes. The consistency should be thicker than pancake batter but wetter than biscuit dough.
Prepare your spätzle board
Use a heat-proof board with a smooth surface, like a wooden cutting board. Moisten it with cool water.
Spread some of the batter on the board in a long strip going from one end of the board to the other.
Cut the dough and boil
Use an offset spatula to cut off small, thin strips of the batter and drop them into salted, boiling water. Cut the dough at small angles to keep the spätzle from getting too long (they will almost double in size as they cook). As you cut the dough, let the small bits drop into the boiling water. If the dough doesn’t want to release from your spatula, just plunge the spatula into the water for a second.
You can also cook the spatzle directly in soup broth.
Cook another minute or so after they float
According to my Oma’s notes, if you work quickly enough you can cook the whole thing in two batches. Yeah right, Oma. The rest of us may do better with small batches – about as much as you can scoop up with one or two sweeps of a strainer.
Once the spätzle floats, let them cook at a gentle boil for another one to two minutes, until they no longer have a raw flour taste and have a pleasantly firm texture, not tough and chewy. The cooking time will differ depending on the size of your spätzle.
Shock the cooked spätzle in ice water briefly
Once they are cool, scoop them out of the cold water, rest the strainer on a clean, dry towel for a moment to get rid of excess water and spread them on a baking sheet to dry off further.
You can do all of this up to a day in advance of serving. Once the spätzle has dried off for about 30 minutes, pack them up and store them in the fridge. Or hold them for several weeks by freezing the spätzle on a tray and then packing them up in a well-sealed container.
Heat and Serve
When you’re ready to serve them, toss the spätzle in a hot pan of melted butter or oil. The simplest way to serve them is to top them with buttered bread crumbs. Or, add layer them with cheese and top with fried onions for Kässpätzle. And, of course, if you are making a stew, fricassee or braised dish, spätzle is a natural accompaniment.
Finally, if you have any leftover spätzle, crisp them up in the skillet and pour a few beaten eggs over them for a German-style frittata.