Spätzle with Sage Butter, Parmesan, and Toasted Hazelnuts

 

Although I've always loved spätzle, it never occurred to me to try making it myself. A few years ago, I moved to Austria, where spätzle's widespread availability (on menus and in supermarkets) not only led me to consume it in shamefully large quantities, but also prompted me to learn how to produce it to ensure that after leaving Austria, I would never have to live without it. Spätzle is quite easy to make -- even without a spätzle maker or press -- and when it's tossed in butter and sprinkled with some fresh herbs, it makes a lovely and quick side dish (especially for anything meaty and saucy). This is a dressed up version, inspired by the frequent pairing of gnocchi with browned butter, sage, and Parmesan. It would make a great addition to any dinner party menu, but especially ones featuring autumnal flavors. Any spätzle recipe could be used as a base, but I've included my own, which I've developed over time. Unlike most spätzle recipes, it does not feature a steep ratio of egg yolks to egg whites. Using a higher egg yolk count yields a richer, more luxurious spätzle, which is delicious as a main, but is a bit too heavy for a side -- especially if you, like me, insist on leaving room for dessert.

What you will need

2 eggs

1 cup milk

2 cups flour

A generous pinch of salt

A generous grating of nutmeg

One recipe spätzle (above)

3/4 cup skinned hazelnuts

1 cup butter or 3/4 cup clarified butter or ghee

10 to 12 fresh sage leaves

1 cup grated Parmesan

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