Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wisconsin Spaetzle and Cheese

Remember when you were a kid and your mom made you Kraft mac and cheese with hotdogs cut up into it? Well, here's your grown up version of that with a little bit of a German-American twist.
Wisconsin Spaetzle & Cheese
A few days ago Lara over at Wandering Fork posted a spaetzle dish and it totally gave me a spaetzle and cheese craving. Then I started thinking spaetzle, cheddar...aha brats. We had some Gigawatt Brats in the fridge from Bar 5 Meat. They had a nice heat from jalapenos and red pepper which I think added a lot to the dish. At the last minute, we decided to add some spicy brown mustard to the sharp cheddar sauce which added another perfect flavor layer.

So, why do we call it Wisconsin Spaetzle and Cheese? Well, to us, it just seems like a combination of foods we relate with our neighbor state all rolled into one big helping of comfort food. All it needs is a cold bottle of New Glarus Beer and I think you have a meal that would make any one from the Dairy State happy.
Wisconsin Spaetzle & Cheese
A note on making the spaetzle: The original Tyler Florence recipe says to push the dough through a large sieve or grater to make the spaetzle. There was no way this was happening with this loose sticky dough. Matt even tried pushing it through the garlic grater which just made a huge glob. I ended up just using my hands and dropping small pieces of dough into the boiling water. Try to keep the pieces thin an about 1/2-inch long.

Wisconsin Spaetzle and Cheese

(adapted from Tyler Florence)

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 t salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 t dry mustard
pinch of nutmeg
3 large eggs, beaten
1/4 c + 2 T milk

Mix the flour, salt, pepper and mustard together. Mix in eggs and milk until you get a thick, smooth batter. Let sit 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the spaetzle dough in a little at a time in small pieces. When they float to the top scoop out of the water with a strainer. Rinse with cool water and drain. You'll have to do this in a few batches and may have to add more water to the pot as you go.

Mustard Cheese Sauce

1/2 T unsalted butter
1 T all-purpose flour
1/2 c milk
1/4 c heavy cream
4 1/2 oz sharp cheddar, cut
pinch of salt
few grinds of fresh pepper
1 T spicy brown mustard

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook while stirring for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cream. Whisk while cooking until smooth and slightly thickened. Add the cheese & stir until completely melted. Stir in the salt, pepper and mustard.

Assembly and Cooking

2 brats, cooked and sliced into rounds (we used a spicy brat & I highly recommend that bit of spice)
a little grated cheddar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix the spaetzle, sliced brats and cheese sauce together. Pour into a casserole dish. Top with the grated cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes until the cheese is melted and the top is golden.

Makes 4 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski


RJ Flamingo said...

I'm in love! Bookmarking this to make right after Passover's, um, over.

Megan said...

I've never made or even had spaetzle but it sounds like a fun dish to make. And of course I love the mustard cheese sauce! ;)

Jenna said...

My hubby would adore this! Thanks for the recipe. Looks delish.

Peggy said...

I'm salivating AND craving a Fat Squirrel from New Glarus. Thanks for a yummy sounding recipe!

Elle said...

Those TV chefs--don't they have anyone TEST these recipes for F's sake?

That aside, um...yum! I could get lost in that dish!

Maris (In Good Taste) said...

looks so delicious. A big bowl of comfort food!

Heather said...

I'm from Wisconsin, and I approve this message.

Jenn @leftoverqueen said...

This is comfort food at its best! YUMMMM

Suzanne said...

This looks great! I'll have to give it a try...

I also wanted to share my method for making spaetzle that is pretty easy, albeit time-consuming: I pour the dough into a plastic bag and cut off a tiny bit of one corner of the bag. The dough will (slowly) drip out the hole. I take a pair of scissors in my other hand and snip off the pieces as they come out. Like I said, it's not super fast but you get the small characteristic spaetzle shape which makes for a nice presentation.

kat said...

Suzanne - That is brilliant! I probably could even use a pastry bag with a small tip. Going to try that next time.

Deborah said...

I have never had spaetzle before, but it's something I've always wanted to try making. This version sounds great!

Lo said...

Gosh, I've been looking forward to this post. I love spaetzle, and this looks so good!

Would you believe I've never made it myself?

Lori said...

My Mother handed this spaetzle maker down to me. It kind of has a cup that is placed over a large holed grater type piece. I have not used it yet. After seeing your recipe though I really want to make this.

Bizzy said...

I am so glad you posted this. I usually have spaetzle with pot roast or something with gravy and never thought of it with cheese. I can imagine it is very good that way.

EFT Manual said...

An ultimate comfort food that brings back a lot of childhood memories. Thanks for sharing!

Treatments For Anxiety said...

Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I'm planning on making this lovely comfort food Monday night. Hopefully i'll give your recipe justice.

Minroad said...

I ran across this last night, right before I left for home, and just had to try it out.

I was born and raised in Wisconsin, so I made a few Wisconsin adjustments. First, I cooked the brats in beer, and reserved the cooking liquid. I then used about twice the amount of roux, and substituted milk (1/2 cup) and the beer (aka cooking liquid, 1/2 cup + more as needed to achieve the right consistency) for the milk and cream. I used Suzanne's bag technique to make the spaetzle. It sort of has a 'beer cheese soup' flavor to it, and was delicious.

Excellent post.

Really enjoy this blog. Thanks for all of the excellent ideas and recipes.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Oh this looks so wonderfully creamy and cheesy! I like the pinch of nutmeg added.

Alicia Foodycat said...

YUM! You guys certainly know your way around cheesy heaven!

The way my grossmami made spaetzle (which I haven't entirely mastered yet) was to put ladlesful on a wet wooden board, held at an angle above the pot of boiling water, and then used a knife to "cut" bits of the batter into the water. I make my batter a bit thicker and push it through a potato ricer.

grace said...

lots of cheese, spicy mustard, and nutmeg--this has all the makings of a supreme bowl of comfort food. i don't feel so bad about growing up if this is what's in store! :)

Lori said...

This looks incredible. I've wanted to make spaetzle for a while now and I think this cheesy combo has inspired me to finally get it done!

Jess said...

My grandmother used to make this all the time when I would visit her in Germany, only I was a picky eater so I would pick out the sausage. It drove her crazy. Maybe it's time to revisit this and eat it with sausage, haha. Thanks for posting!

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t = teaspoon
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