Friday, December 30, 2011

Spaetzle with truffle butter

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Spaetzle with truffle butter (photo: Lynne Hemer)
I put fresh spaetzle on my Trufflepalooza 2011 menu last summer with some reservations. 

Truffles pair well with pasta, but I'd already done spaghetti with truffles (2009) and truffled mac and cheese (2010). Spaetzle, a simple pasta-like egg dumpling, seemed like a good next step. My Hungarian mother-in-law makes spaetzle often and my husband loves it. I even own a spaetzle maker.

Why the concern, then? Superstition. Twenty-plus years ago a longtime friend flunked her final exam at a prestigious culinary institute because of spaetzle. It was the last thing she was asked to make, and she blanked. She's over it by now, but clearly I'm not.

I sucked it up and made the spaetzle, and I'm glad. The homemade spaetzle with truffle butter were a huge hit at Trufflepalooza. The chewy little dumplings are boiled first to cook them through, then tossed in a hot saute pan with truffle butter to crisp the edges and get that musky truffle flavor into all the little crevices.I served the spaetzle on their own, but they'd make a great side dish paired with steak, roast chicken or any other simply prepared protein.

You can make your own truffle butter or buy it at a gourmet market (I like Sabatino brand truffle butter). You don't need to buy the most expensive truffles to make truffle butter - canned or frozen truffles work fine if the fresh ones are out of reach.

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Spaetzle with truffle butter
Fresh egg dumplings dressed with truffle butter make an elegant side dish. If you don't have a spaetzle maker, use a potato ricer with a large-hole insert or a colander.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 Tbsp truffle butter
  • 1 fresh white or black truffle (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.While the water is boiling, whisk together the flour, eggs, milk, salt and pepper. You'll end up with a batter that's somewhere between pancake and muffin batter in thickness.Turn the flame down so the water is simmering. Put a dollop of batter in the holder of the spaetzle maker and run it back and forth over the holes. Bits of batter will drop through into the boiling water. This part takes some practice (or a lot practice if you're a spaetzle dunce like me). If you're using a colander, use a spoon to push the batter through the holes. Use the spoon to scrape the outside of the colander to get all the batter off. The spaetzle will be knobby and irregular. Simmer the spaetzle about 3 minutes; they don't take long at all. Fish the first batch out of the pot with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl. Add a little olive oil and toss to keep the spaetzle from sticking together. Cook the rest of the spaetzle in batches, adding more oil as necessary.When all the spaetzle has been boiled, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the truffle butter and the cooked spaetzle and toss gently until the spaetzle is crisp along the edges. Serve immediately, grating fresh truffle over the top if you've got one.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8-10 servings (as side dish)


Unknown said...

Looks delish. I've not made spaetzle before, nor truffle butter. Time to learn!

meri said...

I'm a huge fan of truffle butter, i have never made spaetzle before though. It sounds like a great combination and something I really need to try.

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