Ready to fly to Tyrol? Tyrol is the geographical region that takes its name from the homonymous town located in the Trentino Alto-Adige region, in north-eastern Italy.
Belonging to both Austria and Italy, following some historical facts we will tell you later on, this territory is mainly mountainous and here, cattle breeding and dairy products making are two of the major activities, beyond tourism of course.
Cheeses like Dolomiti, Alta Badia, Pustertaler, the ricotta cheese and the delicious yogurts are just few examples of the wide choice of food you may taste if you ever go to this beautiful land.
Talking about cheese, in Tyrol it is tasted plain with a slice of good multi-cereals bread or it is used to season meat and/or pasta.
Here they make a special kind of pasta, which is not even called pasta, even though this specialty is included in the “first courses”, as they are called in Italy. It is the spätzle (a plural word that is translated in Italian as gnocchetti, small gnocchi-like pasta) and they are mostly known in the recipe of the cheese spätzle or, said in German, which is one of the languages spoken here, Käsespätzle.
They are a sort of pasta indeed, as they are made with flour, eggs and water, the usual ingredients that are used to make homemade Italian pasta. Yet, they don’t have a regular shape like the classic Italian pasta and can often come in a green color, when spinaches are added to the dough.
What we are giving you now is the classic cheese spätzle recipe that is so common to eat in Tyrol, both in Austrian Tyrol and in the Italian one, but, as we have always said, nothing prevents you from trying other seasonings, other ingredients to match these tender and tasty spätzle.
Here’s what you need:
FOR THE HOMEMADE SPÄTZLE
- 400 gr flour;
- 4 eggs;
- 125 ml water;
- 1 teaspoon of salt.
FOR THE SEASONING
They are all different kinds of cheese. If you can’t find them, just pick the ones that are available and/or you love the most.
- 60 gr of Tilsiter. diced;
- 60 gr of Emmental, diced;
- 60 gr of Gruyère, diced;
- 60 gr of Bergkäse, diced;
- 60 gr of Bergbaron, diced;
- black pepper, to taste.
Place the flour, salt, eggs and water in a bowl and start kneading. You can knead by using either your hands or a wooden spoon. When the dough has a denser but not too hard consistency, it is time to shape the spätzle. They are not handmade, but Tyrolese chefs use a sort of grater, that has round holes all over its surface and a mobile hollow cube that goes back and forth to let the dough go through the small holes and take the right spätzle shape.
So, let’s place this grater on a pot where salted water is boiling and drop the dough into it. As soon as the spätzle are cooked, they will be floating on the water. With a skimmer spoon, take them out of the pot.
At this point you can choose your method:
- No. 1: take the spätzle, place them in a bowl, grate a bit of cheese over them, add black pepper and stir well. Take an oven dish, butter it and alternate a layer of spätzle with one of cheese, making sure that the last one is made of cheese. Pour a bit of cream on top of this layer and cook it au gratin at 180° C/ 330° F.
- No. 2: place the spätzle in a large frying pan where you have previously sautéed some onion. Add salt, black pepper, and the cheeses. Let them melt, stirring well so that they mix homogeneously with the spätzle. Finally, you can add some parsley.
Try to make them and let us know which method you prefer the most!
A BIT OF HISTORY…
As said before, Tyrol is a region shared between Austria and Italy. It is divided into:
- Nothern and Eastern Tyrol, that are Austrian territories;
- Southern Tyrol (in German, Südtirol), corresponding to the Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige.
It’s always intriguing when it comes to getting to know about boundary territories, and in Italy there are many. Not going too back to the past, this territory was ruled by German and Austrian lineages and it remained under Austrian domination for a good century until the kingdom of Italy laid claim to the Südtirol as its own at the end of First World War. This is why the particularity of Tyrol is its language, or better, its languages, and culture. Three languages are spoken here: Italian, German and Ladin as well as northern, southern Tyrolese dialects and Italian dialects too.
A mass of incredible habits and traditions all in one place! Amazing, isn’t it? If you haven’t put this destination into your “trips to do” list, then we strongly advise you to do so! You won’t regret it!
tirolo.com – Spätzle al formaggio “Kasspatzln”
wikipedia.org – Tirolo