Pumpkin Spatzele

My goal in the kitchen is not to be super creative and serve fancy food presentations. That’s just not me. I go to restaurants for that enjoyment. I’m just a self-trained home cook.

Spazele with pumpkin might seem like I’m trying to be creative, but my use of pumpkin began innocently enough, many years ago, for two different reasons. 1. I love pumpkin, and although a fall ingredient, can be used year round. 2. I always used canned pumpkin in my cooking as a way to enrich the food I prepared for my family. Sneaking in the pumpkin is perhaps a better term for what I did – sneaking it into stews, soups, chili, spaghetti sauce, meat loaf – you name it.

So my posting of spazele made with pumpkin is not meant to be show-offy or gourmet. It was just a natural thing for me to do because I became adept at sneaking in ingredients. And pumpkin, is fortunately pretty. Kids tend to be a little more suspicious of green ingredients.

I grew up with spazele because although my mother is French, her father was Alsatian. Spatzele are German. They’re also spelled spaetzle. And perhaps even more ways than I realize.

I don’t think my mother ever put pumpkin in them, or anything else, because she always made them the traditional way. But they’re seriously fun to play with. You can add fresh herbs, pesto, tomato paste, cheeses, paprika crème, and just about anything that won’t ruin their cooking integrity. Because they all work.

If you’re not familiar with spatzele, they’re kind of like gnocchi’s ugly cousin. I could also call them lazy man’s gnocchi. Either way, they’re simply made by adding spoonfuls of batter to boiling water, very similar to American dumplings.

There are spatzele makers that turn out grated-looking “worms” of spatzele, but I really like the rustic dumpling look. But taste and texture wise? Spazele are just as fabulous as gnocchi. They’re little puffy pillows of goodness. And simply tossed in brown butter? Dynamite.

With the beautiful orange color and that hint of pumpkin, they should be loved by every one of all ages. So here’s my recipe. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Spatzele

2 eggs
1 cup goat’s milk, heavy cream, milk, dairy or non-dairy
1 cup pumpkin purée

1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter
Parmesan
see note below for seasoning options

Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and goat’s milk together with the pumpkin purée and salt.

Slowly incorporate the flour into the batter, adding just a little at a time. Whisk to remove any flour lumps, then switch to a spatula. Don’t overstir.

The resulting batter can’t be too thin because it will disintegrate in the boiling water. But you also don’t want too stiff of a batter from too much flour and over whisking because the spazele will be hard and tough. You want a soft, tender spazele.

When the water is boiling, test one spazele if you want to time them. It’s worth doing if you don’t trust yourself, but honestly dumplings like these are very straight forward to cook.

Place a teaspoon of batter into the boiling water. Notice it will fall to the bottom of the pan. After it rises to the surface, scoop it up and place it on a plate.

Cut the spazele in half and study the middle. It should be soft, but not raw or tough.

When you are ready to begin, place uniformly-sized spoonfuls of batter in the water – only about ten or so at a time. Again, they will eventually rise to the surface of the water, at which point I let them cook another 30 seconds.

When the first batch is done, remove them from the water using a spider sieve, and place them in a colander or on a paper towel-lined platter to drain excess water. Then continue with the remaining batter. When cool enough to handle, I also turn over each spazele to drain any water on the top.

When you’re all done, place the spazeles in a serving bowl.

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Brown the butter on the stove.

While still hot, pour over the spazele.

Look at those lovely browned butter bits on the pumpkin spazele.
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If desired, sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

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note: Regarding seasoning, I’ve used a few different ones over the years – Chinese 5 spice, nutmeg, white pepper, and thyme. If you’re serving the spazele as a side dish, season in complement to the protein. Also, I chose goat’s milk for today’s spazele, but cream, or any dairy and non-dairy liquid would work. It’s your choice.

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By Published On: October 20th, 201431 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

31 Comments

  1. Coffee and Crumpets October 20, 2014 at 9:39 AM - Reply

    Nothing wrong in being creative! This looks gorgeous, Mimi!

  2. the drunken cyclist October 20, 2014 at 9:56 AM - Reply

    I love spaetzle! Have you ever used one of the spaetzle makers? My Alsatian mother used to make it by scraping the dough off a plate with a knife, but the “maker” is much easier (it is kind of like a colander that you push the dough through).

    • chef mimi October 20, 2014 at 10:19 AM - Reply

      Yeah, I mentioned the gadget, if it’s the same one, in the post. I’ve never bought one cause I thought it a bit intimidating!!!

      • the drunken cyclist November 1, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        Hey Mimi, I am going to try and make this today and I have a question: the photo shows Evaporated Goat’s Milk, but it does not mention that in the list of ingredients. I am going to try to find Goat’s milk–does it need to be evaporated? Or, if I can’t find it, should I get evaporated cow milk? Or just regular milk?

      • chef mimi November 1, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        it’s there. it says 1 cup of goat’s milk, but I thought I used the whole can. hmmm. any liquid will do, but cream, 1/2 and 1/2, or evaporated milk work better than milk. It’s all about getting the batter to the right consistency, which is a lot like muffin batter.

  3. Our Growing Paynes October 20, 2014 at 12:21 PM - Reply

    Wonderful comfort food for the autumn. :)

  4. apuginthekitchen October 20, 2014 at 2:14 PM - Reply

    I love pumpkin and like to add to dishes also for additional nutrients. I even add to the food I prepare for the pug. I love spatzle, have never made it thought you needed a special piece of equipment. Love that you just drop in spoonfuls. Looks yummy with the browned butter and cheese.

  5. thefolia October 20, 2014 at 4:14 PM - Reply

    Love this idea…I have an acorn squash I can do this with and I just might try it with potato instead of flour like a gnocchi! Happy Nesting.

    • chef mimi October 21, 2014 at 7:25 AM - Reply

      Or, you could use some potato flour as well as regular!

  6. cheri October 20, 2014 at 4:38 PM - Reply

    Looks delicious, I had spaetzle once and thought it was wonderful, love the addition of pumpkin.

  7. nowathome October 21, 2014 at 1:30 AM - Reply

    Lovely idea!

  8. DellaCucinaPovera October 21, 2014 at 2:37 AM - Reply

    These remind me of little gnocchi! Ate so much spaetzle in Munich 2 weeks ago – none of it as creative or tasty looking as yours :)

  9. emmabarrett1508 October 21, 2014 at 7:17 AM - Reply

    I am a huge huge fan of pumpkin too and especially love this culinary time of year. Thank you for sharing such an interesting way of cooking pumpkin. I’m a big kid too and really enjoy the carving at Halloween. Take care Mimi. Emma xx

    • chef mimi October 21, 2014 at 7:28 AM - Reply

      I haven’t carved a pumpkin since my kids grew up, but Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. Now that I have a grand daughter, things might pick up around this time of year!

  10. tableofcolors October 21, 2014 at 1:55 PM - Reply

    They look delicious and you have inspired me to try them out…love your addition of pumpkin!

    • chef mimi October 22, 2014 at 8:24 AM - Reply

      Thank you! It makes such a pretty color!

  11. Caroline Taylor October 22, 2014 at 7:27 AM - Reply

    Love the idea to use pumpkin for this!

    • chef mimi October 22, 2014 at 8:25 AM - Reply

      Subtle flavor addition, but a fabulous color with the pumpkin!

  12. dishnthekitchen October 22, 2014 at 10:16 AM - Reply

    so sneaky! and delicious :)

  13. Jody and Ken October 22, 2014 at 1:27 PM - Reply

    Okay, these sound great, especially with goat’s milk! Where’s the venison or wild turkey? Ken

  14. platedujour October 22, 2014 at 3:45 PM - Reply

    They look very similar to my pumpkin gnocchi recipe! I make them quite often, never tried the spaetzle though. I need to give it a try :-)

    • chef mimi October 22, 2014 at 3:52 PM - Reply

      They’re so similar! Except that mine are very rustic. I’ve never mastered the fork technique on gnocchi!

  15. mmmarzipan November 1, 2014 at 4:42 PM - Reply

    Pumpkin anything <3 !! You're a genius!!

    • chef mimi May 10, 2015 at 3:37 PM - Reply

      Thanks! Somehow I missed this comment! sorry!

  16. thesnowwoman May 10, 2015 at 2:09 PM - Reply

    I definitely will be trying this recipe!

    • chef mimi May 10, 2015 at 3:38 PM - Reply

      If you love pumpkin.. you will love these!!!

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