Food & Drink Magazine

Baked Pumpkin Spaetzle

By Skfsullivan @spectacularlyd

Pumpkin Spaetzle servingIt seems time to get back to the basic tenets of this site.

Spectacularly Delicious is dedicated to recipes with a proper name that require specialized equipment to either prepare or serve, call for unusual or hard to find ingredients and often take a long time to prepare, resulting in a splendid presentation with a marvelous taste. In short, spectacularly delicious.

Spaetzle gratin

Granted, not all recipes have fired on all cylinders but the goal is always the same: a name, a tool, specialized ingredients and fabulous results.

It also feels like revisiting some of the real winners of the past is in order. Which brings us today to this update of 2012′s Pumpkin Spaetzle:

Spaetzle on cloth
Spaetzle sieve

BAKED PUMPKIN SPAETZLE WITH GRUYERE CHEESE Recipe

15 oz. can pumpkin puree
3 extra large eggs
1 cup milk, + extra as needed
2 1/2 cups flour, + extra as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 t. teaspoon nutmeg
1  heaping Tablespoons of  roughly chopped fresh sage, plus extra whole sage leaves for garnish
4 Tablespoons butter + more to butter the baking dish
8 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
2 oz.  Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
salt & pepper to taste 

Pumpkin Spaetzle on plate

1. Drain the pumpkin puree: place in a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl or measuring cup and let drain for an hour or two. Stir from time to time to help release the water. Discard the liquid.

2. In a bowl whisk together the drained pumpkin, the three eggs, 1 cup of the milk and the salt and nutmeg. Then whisk in the flour, 1/2 c. at a time, to make a thick batter. Whisk in the chopped sage. The batter needs to be just loose enough that it will fall through the holes in a spaetzle sieve or, lacking that, a colander. Add a little flour if too thin, a little more milk if too thick. It is the right consistency when it reluctantly drips in thick blobs off of a wooden spoon.

3. Place a sieve in the sink to be ready to drain and rinse the spaetzle.

4. Bring a large pot of water to a full boil.  Use a spaetzle sieve to drop squiggles of batter into the boiling water. Here’s what it looks like:   

If you don’t have a spaetzle sieve you can use a wide-gauge colander.  Or thicken up the batter with a little more flour and drop it into the boiling water pinch by pinch. Spaetzle can also be made with a spatula and cutting board — German granny Frau Lutz is a proponent of this technique. The video is well worth watching.

Cook for two to three minutes after they all float to the top.  Stir gently to prevent sticking. Don’t overcrowd the pot, you need to cook this recipe in a couple of batches. After they’ve boiled a few minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove them to the colander in the sink. Rinse gently with cold water.  Let drip dry, then spread out on a clean dishtowel to await further cooking.

Baked Spaetzle plate
5. Preheat the oven to 350º.  Butter a large baking or gratin dish.

6. In a large wide pan, melt 4 T. of butter over medium-high heat. Cook the butter until it sizzles and browns a little. Then carefully add the spaetzle. Gently stir and toss until they’re heated through, about 4-5 minutes.

7. Stir 3/4 of the grated Gruyere and half of the Parmesan cheese into the spaetzle, mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Tip out into the buttered baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.

8. Bake in the preheated 350º oven for 15 minutes, until the cheese on top is melted and starting to brown. Garnish with fresh sage and serve hot.

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