Spaetzle are tiny German dumplings, often served with a meat sauce or stew. They're made of just a little flour, milk, and egg, and they are much easier than rolled noodles or pasta. They are traditionally made by pressing the batter through a colander or dedicated spaetzle maker into long thin strands. But you don't need even a colander; we always flick ours off the end of a spoon for thumb-sized spaetzle.
We found ourselves without any milk the other night, so we made a last-minute substitution of whole-milk ricotta. This produced the lightest, fluffiest spaetzle we've ever had - they were like tiny melting clouds of fluffy dumpling. They are perfect for summer - you start the water boiling, mix the batter, plop them in to cook, and strain out - it takes about 10 minutes and you're eating a big bowl of dumplings with a little green onion and butter in less time than it takes to order out.
1 cup flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 1/2 cup ricotta 2 tablespoons water
Set a large pot of water to boil. Whisk the the flour and salt together. In a separate cup whisk the eggs with ricotta and water until very smooth and frothy. Add to the flour and whisk to combine. The batter will be thin but gluey - thicker than pancake batter.
When the water is boiling, scoop the tip of a teaspoon into the batter and drop quickly into the water, pushing the batter off with your finger. Repeat, quickly, until the top layer of water is nearly full of bobbing spaetzle. Let them boil for about two minutes, or until they all float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and repeat with the rest of the batter. Cut into one to make sure it's done. Don't worry too much about overcooking these; the ricotta keeps them light and fluffy. Just try to get them out within a few minutes.
Toss with a small drizzle of butter or meat drippings and serve hot.