Spätzle literally means little sparrows but in several Central European countries, and in South Tyrol where they are very popular, it refers to a type of pasta.
Alpine cuisine meets Bella Italia: South Tyrolean basil Pasta: Spätzle
Before the use of mechanical devices, the pasta was shaped by hand or with a spoon and the results resembled little sparrows. However, south of the Alps, a Mediterranean flair is also to be found in the kitchen: basil adds colour and aroma to this pasta dish. And with tomatoes and mozzarella, the side dish becomes a dish in itself.
Word of mouth
South Tyrolean cuisine has always been special. Many recipes have been handed down from generation to generation, often without ever being put down in writing. It was therefore a matter of word of mouth. But the geographical position of the region can also be seen as special: Tyrol once stretched from Kufstein to Lake Garda and bordered Veneto in the south. Already in the 15th century, Bolzano was a lively trading centre. Venice, a main trading centre for luxury foods and foodstuffs from southern Italy and the Orient, was not far away.
The wealthy South Tyroleans loved the imported goods: tropical fruits, spices of all kinds, chocolate or oils. But such goods were not available to the poorer part of the population. Their dishes continued to be inspired by what the local countryside offered throughout the year. This meeting of local traditions and food from the south gave rise to the South Tyrolean cuisine of today. It always knows how to enhance down-to-earth recipes in a Mediterranean way – or vice versa. Bacon and radicchio, risotto and alpine herbs or even Spätzle and basil are only some of the results.
- 300 g flour
- 2 eggs
- 250 ml water
- 20 g basil leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- some butter or olive oil
- 1 handful cherry tomatoes
- 1 Mozzarella approx. 250 g
- Parmesan grated
Wash the basil leaves and mix gently with eggs, water, olive oil and salt (the salt prevents the basil from turning brown). Put the flour in a bowl, add the basil mixture little by little and work it into a smooth dough with a wooden spoon.
Bring plenty of water to the boil, salt. Using a special Spätzle press, “grate” the dough into the boiling water in portions, stir and bring the Spätzle to the boil once. Take the Spätzle out with a slotted spoon, rinse in cold water and drain well.
Before serving, toss the Spätzle in olive oil or butter, mix with pieces of Mozzarella and halved cherry tomatoes, finally sprinkling with lots of Parmesan.
Instead of basil, you can also use other herbs, such as parsley, mint, spinach or chervil, either separately or mixed. Green Spätzle also taste excellent on a bed of roasted onions and baked with cheese.