Pasta can be a chore to prepare, but spaetzle – a cousin by way of German – is easy enough to be prepared for a weeknight dinner. It may take a little time to get comfortable with it, but once you do, it will quickly become an extremely popular part of your repertoire. A potato ricer makes quick work of the dough, resulting in a fine, delicate spaetzle. For those without a rice, a colander and a bit of elbow grease will do the job nicely.
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup half & half or whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Scant amount of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
Salt & freshly cracked pepper
Pecorino, for shaving
Fill a large pasta pot with well-salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, salt and nutmeg. Using a wooden spoon stir in the flour ½ cup at a time until a smooth, elastic dough is formed.
Preheat the oven to 150°F. Place a large heatproof bowl or a baking pan inside to warm.
Position a colander or potato ricer directly over the hot water. Using about 1/2 cup at a time, press dough into the water and simmer until they begin to float – about two minutes. Remove with a wire strainer or slotted spoon to the pan in the oven to keep warm while you repeat the process with the remaining dough.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the rosemary until it just begins to brown – about five minutes. Add the walnuts and continue to cook while stirring for another three minutes, until butter is brown and the nuts are toasted.
To the pan, add the spaetzle, a hefty pinch of kosher salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Cook together for a minute to warm through. Transfer to plates or a warm serving bowl, shave pecorino generously across the top. Serve immediately.