Cheesy American-German Spaetzle
I've always thought of Oktoberfest as a celebration of beer. I'm not a beer fan, so I've passed on the events. This year, a friend schooled me on the other part of Oktoberfest events . . . the food! Apparently I've been missing out.This, I can get behind. As a result, I've been researching German foods. A trip to a local German deli made me realize that I am already familiar with a lot of the classics. If you've been to Central Pennsylvania, then you are probably aware that we have a strong Pennsylvania Dutch influence here. Often confused with Germans, they actually aren't. Yet there is some culinary overlap. For instance, lots of pickling and vinegar's. Hearty sauces and gravies top everything. And fruits are popular in desserts.
After realizing that buying a spaetzle maker probably wasn't a prudent purchase, I hunted the local grocery stores for spaetzle and had no luck there either. While researching how to make my own, I recognized the only real difference between a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch egg noodle and German spaetzle was the shape, I settled for a Klusky brand noodle. They are not thin and translucent as most commercial egg noodles are, but instead are dense, short and thick and made from only flour and egg.
Spaetzle is essentially the German version of pasta. A classic side dish served with meat and gravy or added to soups and stews. Traditionally they are prepared with sauteed onion and garlic . . . two of my favorite things! So what could make it better? Cheese of course!
This is a traditional mac and cheese recipe, but adds onion and garlic to the sauce as well as topping. I created a traditional white sauce and added neufchatel cheese, along with gouda to create a rich sauce. I added half a sauteed, diced, sweet onion to the sauce and blended it all into the noodles.
After the dish came out of the oven, I added the remaining half of the sweet onion to the panko and butter crusted top. I've had my share of macaroni and cheese . . . to date, this is my favorite so far! It's THAT good!