Traditional German/Austrian egg noodles tossed in tangy creme fraiche and paired with nutty roasted brussels sprouts make for an easy weeknight meal.
You know how sometimes you buy some special ingredient and then have to figure out how to use it up before it goes bad, ditto for leftovers? Sometimes that results in strange concoctions (I can’t think of any in particular right now, but my mom is a huge fan of “let’s put all the leftovers together and that will feed everyone!”). This recipe developed from the former–I love this Flammkuchen but have no other reason to buy creme fraiche. And an impulse decision to buy packaged spätzle, though I had no particular plan in mind. I had a feeling they would come in handy at some point.
Come to think of it, the brussels sprouts were a bit of a random purchase as well. I like to have plans for my fresh veggies when I buy them as they have a much shorter shelf life than frozen veggies. Usually I live off of assorted frozen veggies. You should have seen the freezer at my apartment at school, Reader, it usually contained at least 12 different bags of frozen vegetables between me and my roommates. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible here, as freezers in Austria are the size of a shoebox. And not a nice-pair-of-boots-shoebox, a pair of sneakers. One bag of veggies takes up about 1/3 of the space.
I digress. I am one of those people who actually likes brussels sprouts. I have for as long as I can remember (parents, you can correct me if I’m wrong on this one). Steaming them is an easy way to cook them, but roasting gives them way more flavor. They develop a nuttiness and a sweetness that they just don’t get when steamed.
Spätzle, by the way, are traditional egg noodles common in parts of German, Austria, Switzerland, and France that are shaped like miniature gnocchi. They’re also sometimes classified as dumplings (again, in miniature form). If you can’t find them at your local supermarket, use your favorite egg noodle or make some yourself, which I have not yet attempted to do.
Creamy Spätzle with Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts recipe from The Live-In Kitchen
- enough spätzle for 2 people (about 7 oz DRY, but use your judgement)
- about 12 oz fresh brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, and sliced in half down the meridian (if this seems like too much, just use your own judgement again or plan on having leftovers)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
- 1 T balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- 4 T creme fraiche (this is also great with goat cheese!)
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
Roast the brussels sprouts: In an oven-proof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Use enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the pan. Add brussels sprouts, cut-side down, and garlic. Cook until the cut sides of the brussels sprouts begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, toss with a little more oil and the balsamic vinegar. Place in the oven and roast until brown and fork-tender, 20-30 minutes (mine took a little less time, but the original recipe calls for roasting for 30 minutes).
Note: if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, just transfer brussels sprouts from your skillet to a baking pan before placing in the oven.
Prepare the spätzle: Follow the instructions to prepare your spätzle while your brussels sprouts are roasting.
Put it all together: In a large bowl, toss spätzle with creme fraiche and a sprinkle of black pepper. Divide into two portions, and top with brussels sprouts. If you aren’t a huge fan of garlic, remove the cloves before serving.