Spaetzle in Bacon-Cheese Sauce
Think rich dumplings in a richer sauce. Spaetzle are little egg dumplings popular in parts of Europe, especially Germany, Austria, Switzerland. You can make spaetzle from scratch, but you also can find commercially made noodles marketed as spaetzle at places like World Market and Aldi. The commercial noodles aren't up to the real thing, but they're okay when you're in a hurry. Nonetheless, the commercial version of spaetzle is far better when dressed up with a bacon-cheese sauce. The sauce is quick to do and provides smoky-salty warmth to the little noodles. I use Swiss cheese from Aldi, which seems to work just fine. Emmentaler is traditional and excellent, but quite pricey. The spaetzle is fine as a main dish and great as an accompaniment to meats--think of it as a German macaroni and cheese.
Spaetzle in Bacon-Cheese Sauce -- Serves 4-6
8-10 ounces of spaetzle, cooked according to package directions until just barely done
2 teaspoons of canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup of bacon crumbles
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 cups of low-fat milk
1/2 cup of flour
1-1 1/2 cups of shredded Swiss cheese
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion and saute it until it turns translucent and begins to brown a bit--5-10 minutes. Add the bacon crumbles, pepper, salt, and nutmeg and stir to combine everything. Whisk the flour into the milk until smooth, turn down the heat under the skillet to medium-low, and whisk the milk-flour mixture into the onion-bacon mixture in the skillet. Stir the mixture in the skillet until it thickens and coats a spoon. Stir in 1 cup of the Swiss cheese until it melts. Add the spaetzle and stir to coat it with the sauce. If you'd like, you can sprinkle on another 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese before you serve the spaetzle--warm and oozing with smokey, cheesy bacon sauce.