Fresh Herbed Quark Spaetzle
German skills: Topfenspätzle mit frischen Kräutern
Spaetzle, similar in texture to gnocchi, is found all across central Europe. At my restaurants, this fresh pasta, which is boiled and then sautéed in butter until golden and crisped in spots, is easily one of the most frequently ordered side dishes.
Quark is a soft, tangy fresh cheese with a consistency similar to that of Greek-style yogurt or sour cream. To substitute, blend equal parts of cream cheese and ricotta until smooth. In lieu of a spaetzle-maker, use a colander with large holes and press the dough through in clumps with a rubber spatula.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the flour with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and the nutmeg.
- Add the eggs, quark, and cream and beat until smooth.
- Fill a large bowl with ice water. Working in batches, press the dough through a spaetzle maker into the boiling water; or use a colander with large holes and a rubber spatula.
- Cook until the spaetzle float to the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a fine sieve, transfer the spaetzle to the ice water for 1 to 2 minutes to cool, then remove to a colander to drain.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the spaetzle and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle the herbs over the top, and serve.