Spinach Spätzli with Brown Butter, Crispy Speck, and Pangrattato

Spinach Spätzli with Brown Butter, Crispy Speck, and Pangrattato

Near Italy’s border with Austria, the food takes on a distinctly Teutonic bent with spätzli, a close Italian cousin of German spätzle. Get the recipe for Spinach Spätzli with Brown Butter, Crispy Speck, and Pangrattato »

Jenn Louis learned this recipe from home cook Gianna Messina in the Trentino-Alto Adige town of Trento. Near Italy’s border with Austria, the food takes on a distinctly Teutonic bent with spätzli, a close Italian cousin of German spätzle. Louis’ spiced, citrus-laced pangrattato, or bread crumbs, provide a welcome crunch and bright pop of flavor to this dish. Featured in: All the Gnocchi.

Spinach Spätzli with Brown Butter, Crispy Speck, and Pangrattato Spinach Spätzli with Brown Butter, Crispy Speck, and Pangrattato
Citrusy bread crumbs provide crunch and a bright pop of flavor to this German-influenced spinach pasta.
Yield: serves 6-8

For the Pangattato

  • 13 cup schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) or olive oil
  • 1 (1-lb.) loaf country bread, crust removed, cubed
  • 1 12 tsp. kosher salt
  • 12 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium jalapeño, chopped
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 lime
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 orange

For the Spätzli and Serving

  • 2 lb. fresh spinach, stemmed
  • 12 tbsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • 3 oz. sliced speck or pancetta
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Make the pangrattato: Heat oven to 275°. Melt schmaltz in a 12″ skillet over medium. Add bread and season with salt and pepper; cook until lightly toasted, 6-8 minutes. Transfer bread to a baking sheet; bake until slightly dry, 18-20 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and jalapeño; bake until everything is dry and crisp, about 45 minutes, and let cool. Transfer to a food processor; pulse into coarse crumbs. Stir in citrus zest.
  2. Make the spätzli: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spinach until wilted, 1-2 minutes. Transfer spinach to an ice bath until chilled. Drain spinach and transfer to a clean kitchen towel; squeeze until mostly dry. Transfer spinach to a food processor. Add nutmeg, salt, and eggs; purée until spinach is minced. Add flour; purée, scraping down sides of processor as needed, until a smooth, thick batter forms, about 4 minutes. Transfer batter to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Bring a fresh pot of generously salted water to a simmer over medium-high. Working in batches, and using a [spätzle maker](http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-Stainless-Steel-Spaetzle-Maker/dp/B001DMCM6Y/ref=pd_sim_sbs_k_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=0122V1PV5MWBAA85GNZ0) or colander with large holes, press batter into the simmering water. Cook until spätzli float, about 1 minute. Stir and cook until tender, about 1 minute more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer spätzli to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high. Cook speck until crisp, 1-2 minutes; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Wipe skillet clean and add butter; cook over medium until butter turns a deep golden brown, 6-8 minutes. Add reserved spätzli and toss to combine; divide between plates. Crumble speck over the top and sprinkle with some reserved pangrattato.