Spinach spätzle sparrows with a taleggio drizzle

As soon as the change of season, darker nights and darker mornings are upon me, I crave comfort food that I can eat and want to eat, using only a spoon and out of a bowl. I sound so lazy but I am just in search of simplicity paired with indulgence and warmth. Only pasta, cream and cheese will do here and lots of it. Spätzle is a dish from the mountain regions of the North of Italy and takes its influence very much from the bordering Swiss and Austrian kitchens. The Northern plains of Italy are much chillier and thus resulting in the farmers and outdoor workers calling for and almost demanding a higher calorie lunch or dinner in order to help and keep them physically able to continue to work. Filling, warming and rich.
Spätzle are so easy to make and just require a little resting if time allows but if you are pressed for time then cheat and use the batter immediately. I have chosen here, to share my recipe for spinach spätzle from my second cookery book ‘A Passion for Pasta’, something a little different with added verdant iron packed spinach leaves. The spätzle batter is a loose dropping consistency and resting would allow the dough to become elastic and stretchy. If you don’t have a spätzle maker to hand then use the base of a stainless-steel steamer or the base of a colander with largeish holes to extrude the pasta over the pan of water.

Spinach spätzle
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 taleggio
80g Parmigiano, grated

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 spätzle are ready 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 spätzle in a bowl with a drizzle of the freshly made taleggio sauce.