There are few dishes more comforting than spätzle, and cheese spätzle is beyond satisfying. Chef Christine Weissman uses a mix of Gruyere, Emmentaler or Parmesan cheese to top her spätzle–the German translates into English as “little sparrows”–but since the cheese is added in the last step you can easily substitute a blend of whatever flavorful hard or medium cheeses you have on hand. (If a spätzle board or press is not something you have on hand, a metal colander will work just fine.)
2 quarts salted water
2 cups all-purpose flour or whole-wheat flour
Salt, pepper, to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk or water plus more as needed (see note)
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped and caramelized for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown
4 to 6 ounces Gruyere, Emmentaler or Parmesan cheese, grated
Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Combine flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in eggs. Add water or milk and beat dough with a wooden spoon for about 10 minutes, or until bubbles appear. When bubbles/holes appear, dough is ready. Set aside.
Using a spätzle board or press, add dough into the press and press the spätzle into the simmering water. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until spätzle float to the top. With a slotted spoon, transfer the spätzle to a large bowl of ice water.
Melt butter in skillet large enough to hold spätzle. Drain again, then add to pan, tossing to coat. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Top with cheese and caramelized onions, toss and serve warm.
Note: Milk produces a richer spätzle. Add more flour if dough is too runny, add more milk or water if it is too stiff.