SCHINKENSPATZLE (with ham, peas, cream and aged gouda, German carbonara, for four)
For the spatzle:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper, more to taste at finish
3 large eggs
3/4 cup water
For the sauce:
1 clove garlic
4 ounces thinly sliced speck (Italian smoked, cured ham) or Westphalia ham
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup frozen peas (may substitute fresh when in season)
¼ cup heavy cream
leaves from 4 stems curly parsley
aged gouda for serving
1.Make the spatzle: Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, 1 teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and water in a second bowl, then add the flour mixture and beat with a wooden spoon until batter is smooth.
3. Working over barely simmering water, force batter through a spaetzle maker or through a colander with ¼ inch holes with a rubber spatula, into water and cook, stirring occasionally, until dumplings have risen to the surface and are firm, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Drain dumplings in a colander, then return to warm pot.
5. Make the sauce: Meanwhile, mince the garlic. Trim the scallions, then chop them. Cut the speck or ham into thin strips.
6. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the speck or ham and the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring a few times, until the meat is lightly browned. Stir in the scallions and peas and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the light parts of the scallions become translucent.
7. Add the cooked spatzle to the saute pan, along with the cream, stirring to coat. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Turn off the heat.
8. Coarsely chop the parsley. Grate a small handful of the cheese for each portion.
8. Divide the spatzle mixture among individual bowls or plates. Garnish with the parsley and cheese. Serve right away.
adapted from Jeremy Nolan of the Brauhaus Schmitz in Philadelphia. Printed in the Washington Post, February 4, 2015