Swabian Cuisine – Kässpätzle
Here comes the final post in the Spätzle trilogy – Kässpätzle, the translation of which is cheese spätzle. If you’re eating out, this is also known as Käsespätzle or Kässpatzen. Although like Linsen & Spätzle this seems more like comfort food, it is eaten here all year round. You will find this on the menu of very good restaurants as well as at the beergarden. It is a very filling dish and can sit heavily in your stomach. I once read that “If anyone being served Kässpätzle leaves the table hungry, it’s their own fault.”
I made a fresh batch of Spätzle for today’s dish, again hand-scraping them, and they were way easier to scrape than the ones I made for the basic recipe a couple of weeks ago. So it does need a little practice to get the hang of the scraping technique, but after two or three tries it’ll become much easier. I’ve actually used a different Spätzle recipe this time that requires 4 eggs for 200 g flour (but I’m referring to my original basic recipe below). I’ve also used organic eggs, which give the Spätzle a more yellow colour.
I’d say Kässpätzle are the German version of mac’n’cheese, although it’s probably as unlikely for you to get the kinds of cheeses we use for it as it is for us to get the typical cheeses Americans use. We usually use semi-hard cheeses from the Alps (most likely comparable to Monterey Jack) generally known as Bergkäse (which means mountain cheese). Today I used Höhlenkäse (which means cave cheese) that is of the same consistency as Bergkäse. What you use is just a matter of preferred taste, really. If you want to stay authentic, though, I would not recommend stronger cheeses like Cheddar. To me, what makes or breaks this dish is the right cheese. Use a cheese that’s too hard, then you’ll get one big lump of Kässpätzle. Use one that’s too strong, and it’ll be overpowering. It really should be a semi-hard cheese that’s mild and will go well with the sautéed onions.
I don’t make this dish very often, because as I mentioned above, it’s very filling and you might feel like a very long nap after lunch if you make this… However, with my newly improved Spätzle scraping skills I’m sure I’ll be making this more often now.
I hope you liked this little foray into German and specifically Swabian cuisine. I’ve got a few more Swabian dishes I’ll be sharing with you in the near future. Until then, maybe you’ll be enjoying some Kässpätzle one of these days!
1 recipe Spätzle
2 large (sweet) onions
300 g Bergkäse (or any other semi-hard cheese)
4 tbsp butter
200 ml milk
freshly ground black pepper
Make the Spätzle dough first, then get a pot of salted water to boil.
While the water heats, peel the onions, halve them, and cut them into very fine slices. Grate the cheese.
Cook the Spätzle according to recipe, then set them aside. Butter a casserole dish large enough to hold the Spätzle.
In a large frying pan, heat 2 tbsp butter and sauté the onions until golden brown. Remove half of the onions and set aside. Add the Spätzle to the remaining onions in the pan, stir, then add the milk and let it reduce a little. Add half of the cheese, stir well, and turn off heat.
When the cheese has melted, transfer the contents of the pan into the buttered casserole dish and cover with the remaining cheese.
Bake the Kässpätzle for 5 – 7 minutes under the oven grill at 200°C. The cheese on top should be melted but not hardened or browned. Distribute the remaining onions on top of the Kässpätzle, and serve with a side salad.