Though pasta is normally associated with Italy, numerous countries have developed their versions over the centuries. Various Oriental nations, and the Middle East and Central Europe all use noodles or dumplings of various types.
One German kind is called spaetzle. Made from flour, eggs, and salt, it can resemble spaghetti as well as gnocchi-type balls. Depending on the region and the chef, it may be used in soups, served with a rich meat sauce, or mixed with cheese; even some dessert dishes are made with it. You can buy it or make it in dry form but, like with all pasta, the texture and taste is way better when you make it from scratch.
If you’re a traditionalist, you will make the dough much runnier than would be the case for Italian pasta, and form it into the desired shape right before dropping it into boiling, salted water. You can do this with a knife and cutting board, but most people will prefer to use a special utensil to form their noodles.
There are various types of implements for this, but we like this one because it makes it easy to produce uniform spaetzle every time, even if you didn’t have a Bavarian grandmother to teach you the technique. At around 10 inches in diameter, this device will make a generous amount of noodles at once, and with holes of about ¼” wide, it’s forgiving if you don’t get your dough exactly the right consistency. This size might give you dumplings that are a little more chewy than the pasta you’re used to, but this is only a matter of personal preference.
You’ll probably want to change the included plastic scraper to a more robust wooden spatula, but the sieve itself is made of stainless steel – very durable and (something you can’t say of every kitchen tool) very easy to clean.
If you regularly prepare pasta-type meals, you might well end up saving quite a lot of money with this device in the long run. Mixing the dough and shaping the noodles take only minutes, and you might be surprised at how versatile spaetzle can be.