Basic spätzle is combined with lemony sautéed mushrooms and ramps for a quick and easy spring side perfect with grilled meats and vegetables.
By Bowen Close
I wrote a bit about ramps last spring to a somewhat puzzled response from folks living elsewhere, but there’s somewhat of an introduction to them in that post (click here) should you need a bit of background. The best way to describe them is as tiny little wild leeks, with a sweet, onion-garlic sort of flavor. Like spring, really.
I wanted to work ramps into our dinner plans this week, but we weren’t sure we’d be able to get our hands on any in this first harvest week, so I planned a side dish that would be good enough without them – tiny little spãtzle dumplings (a classic go-to side in our house) together with some lemony sauteed mushrooms. A perfect base for a bunch of ramps, or not.
I’ve written about spätzle before as well, (click here for that delicious recipe) though we’ve mostly transitioned to this more traditional recipe rather than the earlier version with ricotta (but it’s still a great one if you have ricotta you’re looking to use – if you’ve made your own you probably don’t need any reasons to use it up, but the store-bought kind somehow seems to linger in the fridge). If you have flour, eggs, and milk in the house you’re set, and while a spätzle maker certainly makes things easier (more on that in the recipe below), you can see from the earlier spätzle recipe post how we used to use a colander to good result.
To our basic recipe I added some lemony sautéed mushrooms and ramps, a quick and easy spring side to go along with grilled pork chops.
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup milk
- 2 eggs plus 1 yolk
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more to season mushroom mixture and for serving
- 1½ tsp. oil (any cooking oil) or melted butter, plus more for cooking mushrooms and for serving
- 1 bunch ramps (usually about 12), bulbs roughly chopped and leaves finely chopped or sliced chiffonade-style (into ribbons)
- Around 12 oz. mushrooms, any type, cleaned and chopped into ¼-1/2? pieces
- Zest and juice of ½ lemon (plus more to taste)
- Set a medium pot of heavily salted water to boil. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, milk, eggs and yolk, 1 tsp. salt, and 1½ tsp. oil or melted butter. it will be a fairly thick batter, and it doesn’t need to be completely smooth.
- Set aside while you make the mushroom mixture, or proceed with the cooking step, below.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough oil or butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Add prepared mushrooms and ramp bulbs plus a pinch of salt, stirring frequently until all is tender, 3-5 minutes. Mushrooms will start by soaking up all oil and moisture in the pan, but will soon release liquid.
- Once that liquid cooks off, they’re done! Stir in prepared ramp leaves, cooking for another minute or two until wilted. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Taste and add salt and more lemon zest/juice as desired.
- Press your spätzle batter through a spätzle maker or the holes of a colander directly into boiling salted water. The little dumplings will cook very quickly, so usually by the time I’ve gotten all the dough through the maker and moved the bowl and maker to the sink, it’s ready to remove from the water. The usual technique is to let it cook for just another moment or two after the dumplings have floated to the top of the water, but for a batch of this size I find it easier to coordinate removing them all at once.
- Transfer cooked spätzle into a bowl using a slotted spoon, shaking them gently to remove excess water.
- When they’re all in the bowl, add about 1-2 Tbsp. butter or oil, mixing thoroughly to melt butter (if using) and to mix the fat throughout. This will keep the spätzle from drying out and sticking to each other.
- Combine mushroom-ramp mixture with spãtzle. Taste for salt, lemon zest and juice, and butter/oil. Freshly cracked black pepper, grated cheese, and chili flakes would be nice additions to consider as well!
Bowen Close believes that food should make people happy and healthy, and loves bringing together people with creative, delicious food made from the heart. She loves making farm-inspired, flavorful dishes with sustainable ingredients - whether that's a big plate of roasted veggies, a towering chocolate layer cake, or a cocktail utilizing backyard ingredients - and collects recipes and other food-related stories on her website, Bowen Appétit. She is a chef, cooking instructor, and food writer living in Southern California with her husband and fully stocked pantry.