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Spaetzle (also known as dumplings, spätzle, spätzli, knöpfle, knöpfli, csipetke, nokedli, and halusky) means 'little sparrow,' indicative of the diminutive dumplings of this pasta derivative of German tradition. It is generally used as a side dish.
It can be made into a dense dough that is cut into little pieces with a knife, or into a softer dough, which is forced through a spaetzle maker into a pot of boiling water.
A Spaetzle Slide makes roundish balls. An extruder such as a potato ricer (with holes on underside only preferred) makes long noodle shapes.
Here is a typical spaetzle recipe:
2 eggs, 2.5 cups all purpose flour, 0.5 cup milk, 0.5 cup water, 0.25 tsp salt, 0.5 cup butter
Beat eggs lightly and add milk and water. Place sifted flour and salt in a bowl and gradually stir in the egg mixture until the right consistency has been reached. Add more flour if a stiffer dough is desired. Bring about 4 qts. of salted water to a rapid boil, and you are ready to drop in the spaetzle dough. Cook for about a minute, stirring constantly. Strain and remove excess water by transferring to a paper towel. Toss with melted butter before serving.
Some ways to serve spaetzle: Toss with melted butter, Toss with spaghetti sauce and grated parmesan cheese, Toss with 3/4 cup warm sour cream and butter, Toss with butter and 1/2 cup crumbled crisp bacon bits, Toss with 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese and butter, Add to soup and cook with the soup, Fry in butter and mix with scrambled eggs, Use with stews, goulash, boiling beef, and creamed chicken.