SPINACH SPATZLE WITH BACON AND SAGE (for six)
5 ounces baby spinach leaves or the equivalent quantity of larger leaves
4 egg yolks
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3-1/4 cups all purpose flour
4 ounces bacon or pancetta, cut crosswise into thin lardons
4 tablespoons butter
12 fresh sage leaves
1.Drop spinach leaves into boiling water to blanch, then transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain spinach and squeeze dry. Put cooked spinach into a blender or food processor with the eggs and yolks and blitz briefly to make a green puree. (Alternatively, finely chop the spinach and stir together with beaten eggs and yolks.)
2. Put spinach into a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, the nutmeg and the pepper. Beat in the flour and ¾ cup cold water to make a wet, sticky, batterlike dough. Beat for 5 minutes, until lump free. If the mixture seems too stiff, beat in a few more tablespoons cold water. (If using a spatzle tool, thin the batter to a more runny consistency.) Leave batter to rest, covered, at room temperature for 15 minutes.
3. Prepare an ice water bath. Bring a large wide pot of well salted water to a boil. Stand close to the pot with the bowl of dough in one hand and a soup spoon in the other. With the edge of the spoon, grab thin slivers of dough approximately 1 inch long, dropping them one by one into the boiling water. (Cook a dozen or so at a time.) Let the spatzle cook for 1 minute or so, until they rise to the surface. Remove with a skimmer and immediately cool in ice water. Continue until all batter is used. Drain the cooked spatzle and blot dry. (The recipe may be prepared up to this point several hours before serving.)
4. Just before serving, set a large, wide skillet over medium high heat. Add the bacon and let it render without browning much, about 2 minutes. Pour off the fat and leave the bacon in the pan. Add the butter and let it foam, then add the sage leaves and let them sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the cooked spatzle and saute, stirring with a wooden spoon, until heated through and lightly browned. Transfer to a warm serving bowl. Serve immediately with the grated Parmesan.
from David Tanis, the New York Times
NOTE: Your spatzle can turn red with the addition of tomato concentrate, yellow with a teaspoon or so of turmeric powder, or orange with a cup of pureed squash or carrot.