Spinach Spätzli with Brown Butter, Crispy Speck, and Pangrattato

Spinach Spätzli with Brown Butter, Crispy Speck, and Pangrattato
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.Con Poulos

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
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.