Lesson number one. Use lots of cheese.
And if you don’t like cheese then I’m afraid you’re out of luck. Especially when it comes to the traditional Tirolean dish of Käsespätzle, an Austrian version of macaroni and cheese.
Cheese is in plentiful supply in the Austrian province of Tirol (where I learnt this recipe), and dairy farming is big business throughout the region. Local cheese makers have won numerous awards, and, as a result, Tiroleans are proud of their produce.
Käsespätzle is a hearty dish made with a type of homemade pasta and lots of cheese. It’s guaranteed to warm up a cold evening and is perfect for refuelling after a day exploring in the Alps.
Sounds good? Follow the recipe below to learn how to cook like a Tirolean.
300g cheese, diced (Austrian mountain cheese is recommended but any hard cheese with a high fat content can be used)
1 medium brown onion, diced
1 bunch of chives, chopped
2 tsp of sea salt
2 tsp of fresh ground pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1. Place a large pan with water on the stove to bring to the boil while the dough is being prepared.
2. Add the dry ingredients (flour, salt and pepper) to a large bowl and mix together.
3. In a separate bowl, add the egg to the milk and whisk together with a fork.
4. Add the milk and egg to the dry ingredients and mix together until a dough is formed.
5. Take the cheese and remove the rind (if needed). Dice the cheese into medium-sized chunks so it will melt easily in the pan. For an extra cheesy Käsespätzle, several different types of cheese can be used together.
6. Grab a Spätzle Maker (or use a colander with large holes) and work the dough through the holes into the boiling water. Be careful not to overfill the Spätzle Maker otherwise the dough will fall over the sides. The dough should end up looking like small pieces of pasta.
7. Cook the spätzles until they are floating on top of the boiling water (approx. 10 minutes). Once they are floating, it’s recommended to cook them for an extra three minutes to ensure they are firm.
8. Place a large non-stick frying pan on the stove, bring to a medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the diced onion and cook for three minutes or until softened. Strain the spätzles from the water and add them to the pan with the onions.
9. Gradually start adding the diced cheese to the pan and cook on a medium heat until all the cheese has melted and started to slightly brown (approx. 20 minutes).
10. Once fully cooked, sprinkle the chopped chives on top for serving.
How did it go learning to cook like a Tirolean? Feel free to comment below.