Spinach spätzle sparrows with a taleggio drizzle

Inspiration can be found all around us. Be it in a book, a simple conversation, a dish we’ve eaten, an aroma, a change of season or a television programme. I do love to watch cooking shows on T.V.  I watch them as a chance to relax and turn switch off my manic mind and sometimes I’m even able to pick up a thing or two!  Recently on ’Jamie’s Italy’ he was taught how to make ‘Chnefflene’, small pasta dumplings extruded and cooked in boiling water and dressed with a generally calorific and incredibly delicious sauce. I’ve always called them ‘Spatzle’ as they are influenced from the border between Italy and Austria.  Still a very much unknown pasta to many however I have been making and teaching them for some years now. 

Trentino Alto Adige is on the boarders of Austria and Switzerland and I just love how this region embraces not only language but some of the culture too. Spätzle also known and referred to as ‘Little sparrows’ will only be found in this region and what a treasure it is too. The mixture is made very loosely and then extruded or pushed through a spätzle maker or press, this are very inexpensive and easy to purchase online. If you are lacking this tool, then use a standard kitchen colander. This pasta shape isn’t particularly pretty or standard so fear not of appearance just embrace the flavour and simplicity.


Preparation time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4


250g spinach, blanched and squeezed

240ml milk

2 eggs

650g 00 flour

½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated

Salt and pepper to season


20g butter

100g prosciutto, sliced

150ml single cream

60g talaggio

  1. Place the spinach, milk and eggs in a blender and blitz until smooth.
  2. Pour the flour into a large bowl and add the nutmeg and a twist of salt and pepper.
  3. Scrap the contents of the blender into the flour and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to incorporate fully.
  4. The mixture should be loose, dropping consistence.
  5. Place a large pan of water onto boil. Once boiling salt well.
  6. Prepare the sauce. In a small skillet melt the butter over a medium heat and sauté the prosciutto for 2 minutes.
  7. Pour in the cream. Once the cream has come to a slight simmer add the taleggio cheese and stir with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheese to melt. Season with salt and pepper. 
  8. Take your spätzle maker or colander and push the mixture in batches into the water. Once the spatzel are cooked they will float to the top. You many need to batch cook them.
  9. Once cooked use a slotted spoon to remove them. Serve the spatzel in a bowl with a drizzle of the freshly made taleggio sauce.