Spätzle con speck e panna – spätzle with ham and cream sauce

Spatzle con speck e panna – Spatzle with ham and cream sauce


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Spätzle is a cross between a dumpling and pasta and is popular in the north of Italy and other mountainous countries such as Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Interestingly, the dough is more like a batter than a traditional pasta dough, and is scraped across a 'spätzle maker' (a board with pea-sized holes) over a pan of boiling water, making it far less time-consuming than making regular pasta dough. If you don't happen to have a spätzle maker, you can also use a steamer tray, cheese grater or potato ricer to push the batter through into the water.

This recipe is a common way of serving the spätzle in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy, with a simple cream and speck (a local cured meat) sauce. Other variations include cheese or spinach added to the spätzle batter.

  • Spätzle batter

  • 300g of plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 230ml of water
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • salt
  • Ham and cream sauce

  • 150g of Tyrolean speck, (or smoked pancetta) thick cut and diced into lardons
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 125ml of white wine
  • 125ml of double cream
  • 80g of Parmesan
  • 1 handful of chives, finely chopped
Place the ingredients for the batter in a bowl and whisk to create a smooth batter. Place in the fridge to rest for at least 20 minutes
Set up a large pan of salted boiling water and rest your spätzle maker over the pan. Ladle a spoon of the batter onto the spätzle maker and use the scraper to push the batter back and forth over the holes, which will create the spätzle shapes in the water below
Repeat the process until you have used up the batter, but work in batches as to not overcrowd the water. Depending on the size of the pan you can do around two ladels at a time. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked spätzle (which floats to the top when cooked) and transfer to a bowl of ice water. (This will prevent the spätzle from overcooking and sticking together)
To make the sauce, add a small drizzle of oil to a pan and fry the onion and pancetta until soft and the pancetta is starting to caramelise
Add the white wine and simmer until reduced by half
Add the cream and gently reduce by half. Taste and season with salt and pepper
Toss the spätzle through the sauce to warm and serve topped with plenty of Parmesan and fresh chives
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