In Trentino they add spinach to the mix and serve them with gorgonzola cheese or with butter and speck. They serve the white spätzle with butter and cheese as a side dish with meat. And they can also be enjoyed with a fresh tomato sauce and grated cheese.
Well, today I am going to make them in "brodo finto" or fake broth. Fake because there is no meat in the broth, just vegetables. My family is not big on chicken broth or meat broth in general, so I usually make plain vegetable broth. I am cooking it traditionally, for about an hour or so, but if you are really in a hurry you can do it in about 15 or 20 minutes in a pressure cooker!
So, without further ado here is how I make brodo finto con spätzle. For the broth you will need a 4 quart pot.
Any mix of vegetables will do, as long as it includes onion, garlic, carrot and celery. In addition to these I used 1 zucchini, a large peeled potato (I peeled it because I will puree the vegetables to serve as a rich soup tomorrow), swiss chard, a few small tomatoes and a few stalks of parsley.
Cut the vegetables up in large pieces and put them in the 4 qt. pot.
Cover with water (about 1 1/2 quarts of water), add about a teaspoon of coarse kosher type salt (regular table salt will do), and a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Cover and bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about an hour.
If you are using the pressure cooker method, follow the manufacturer instructions for filling your pressure cooker and cooking the vegetables for making stock vegetable stock.
If you are using the traditional method, after about an hour this is what your soup should look like.
At this point, remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon or a skimmer.
Taste your broth, season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
About 20 minutes before you want to serve your soup, start making the spätzle.
You will need a "spatzlehobel" - or a spätzle maker and an 8 quart pot. Fill the pot 2/3 with water and put it on to boil.
Measure the flour into the bowl. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Break the eggs into the bowl and start to whisk the ingredients together. Before the ingredients are well-blended, add the milk and continue to whisk until the batter is smooth and falls in a "sheet" from a tablespoon.
By now the water is boiling. Salt it as if you were cooking pasta. Rest the spätzle maker on the top of the pot. Fill the carriage with batter and start to move the carriage back and forth over the boiling water so that the spätzle fall into the boiling water. (SEE VIDEO)
As the spätzle cook, the will float to the top. When you have used up all of the batter. Stir the spätzle several times. Remove from heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to remove the little dumplings from the water to a colander. Allow them to drain well before transferring them to the broth.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Finish off your meal with a sandwich and a tossed salad...
and as Julia would have said, had she spoken Italian..