When I was little we lived in Germany for several years. My family still loves German food, and luckily the city we live in has a great German restaurant. However, they don’t have any gluten-free options and they don’t make one of our favorite German dishes…kaiser-spaetzle (German mac and cheese).
This was a dish I decided to give a try when my mom was laid up after having surgery. I don’t know how food could get any more comforting than fresh spaetzle, caramelized onions and gooey cheese, so as is my custom, I went to Google and looked up recipes for gluten-free spaetzle. There are several out there, but the one I ended up using was most similar to the authentic recipes I’ve seen (thank you very much Rebecca). With all of the ingredients assembled and the recipe in hand, I got to work (along with my neighbor’s teenage daughter who likes to help me experiment). We even used the spaetzle press that my parents brought back from Germany and had never used! We also tried out a German coleslaw recipe to go along with the pasta. Everything turned out so well, you could hear the moans of appreciation as everyone dug in.
I took several pictures of both the process and the finished product, so I’ll include those.
- 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used Bette Hagman’s Gourmet Blend)
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 5 eggs
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup water
- salt, to taste (I actually forgot to add any salt, and it turned out fine)
- 8 oz Swiss cheese, shredded (traditionally this recipe used emmenthaler, but it is a bit to expensive for me)
- 4 white or yellow onions, sliced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Heat a large skillet to medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and caramelize, stirring occasionally. This should take about 30 minutes.
- While onions are caramelizing, put a large pot of water on to boil. This will need to be salted once boiling.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix together the gluten-free flour and xanthan gum. Then add eggs and combine. Next add the water, starting with 1/4 cup. The dough should be a little stringing, where you can pull on it. (It was really dry where I live, so we ended up using slightly more than half a cup of water.) If you accidentally add too much water, add another 1/2 cup flour and 1 more egg.
- At this point there are several methods you can use to make the spaetzle. You can use the cutting board and knife method (as detailed in the original recipe), you can push the dough through a colander with small holes, or you can use a spaetzle press(or potato ricer). With the spaetzle press you put about a quarter of the dough into the press, put it over the boiling,salted water and push all the dough through. When the noodles float (which was almost immediately) they are ready to remove from the water. Repeat, which ever method use, until all dough is used.
- Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Then heat a skillet to medium heat, (I used the one in which I caramelized the onions) and add 1 tablespoon butter. Add half the spaetzle and toss until coated. Pour the spaetzle into the 9×13 and distribute evenly. Top with half of the Swiss cheese and caramelized onions. Add another tablespoon of butter to the skillet, toss remaining spaetzle until coated and layer into the baking dish. Top with the rest of the cheese and onions.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Serve hot.
The German slaw was really good too! I used a bag of coleslaw mix (green cabbage and carrots), shredded half of a small head of red cabbage and mixed that in. Many of the reviews for the recipe said to only use 1/4 cup oil, so I went with that. I also topped the slaw with bacon(that’s what our favorite German restaurant does).