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in the kitchen with: molly hatch’s spaetzle

by Kristina Gill

I fell in love with Molly Hatch‘s work the first time I saw it on Design*Sponge. I was mesmerized by the blue and white of the images I saw, and as I reviewed her work, I was also captivated by the floral motifs. I can’t think of a better combination than good food on nice serving pieces, so asking Molly for a few of her favorite recipes for In the Kitchen With was a natural. This week she shares her recipe for spaetzle, a fresh dumpling made with eggs, milk and flour. Though spaetzle are usually tossed with butter and herbs and eaten alongside a meat dish as you would rice or potatoes, Molly and I played around together with sauce ideas to use the spaetzle more like pasta and came up with spaetzle with butternut squash, shallots and cranberries. We hope you like it! — Kristina

About Molly: As the daughter of a painter and a dairy farmer, Molly’s childhood was divided between physical labor, play and creating her own art. Her interest in utilitarian ceramics is grounded in her family’s history of using their hands to make objects for use and contemplation. She pursued a formal art school education, earning a BFA from the Museum School in Boston and an MFA in 2008 from the University of Colorado. Her latest work explores the relationship between high and low, an intersection of current tattoo and graffiti culture and historic patterning and design. Molly works from her home studio in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband and daughter. She also teaches as an adjunct professor in ceramics at Holyoke Community College in Holyoke.

She has been collaborating on an exciting commercial design project incorporating some of these ideas that will be released later this year.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Serves 4


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 fresh farm eggs (good eggs = good spaetzle!)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • butter or olive oil to keep spaetzle from sticking


1. Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then mix them together to a “sticky mustard” consistency — a bit thicker than pancake batter.

2. Let sit for about one hour at room temperature.

3. Drop a small amount into salted boiling water. You know they are done when they float to the surface. Skim out of the water with a slotted spoon. Keep warm in an oven in a covered casserole dish with butter or olive oil to keep the pieces from sticking together.

Note from Molly
There are many ways to “drop” the spaetzle into the water for cooking. Claudia (the nanny who I received this recipe from) would shape a sort of log out of a portion of the bowl of dough about 5″ long and 1–2″ wide on a small cutting board. She lovingly cut small amounts of the batter into the salt water. The pieces were about 1″ long and about 1/4″ thick. If you cut them evenly, they will cook evenly!

Note from Kristina
For these photos, I made the dough a little stiffer to ensure that I could make the spaetzle into more regular sizes. Whether your batter is more or less stiff, dipping your knife in the boiling water between each cut helps move each portion off the cutting board and keeps it from sticking to your knife if you are using one. No matter what you do, the spaetzle will always be quite “rustic” looking because they are dropped into boiling water. They will always taste good, despite their irregular appearance!

Butternut Squash, Shallot and Cranberry Sauce
Serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for the baking tray
  • 1.5 pounds butternut squash, skin on
  • 10–12 shallots, papery outer skin removed, cut into quarters
  • 1 handful dried cranberries
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like it really spicy)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • Parmesan if you wish


1. Preheat oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and lightly oil the paper/foil. Slice the butternut squash into slices about 1″ thick. Place on the tray. Sprinkle each slice with salt and a little olive oil. Bake in the oven until the slices are well browned and easily pierced with a fork.

2. While the squash bakes, add three tablespoons of olive oil and the shallots to a large frying pan. Cook on medium-low heat until the shallots start to change color. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until they turn golden. Add the cranberries and red pepper flakes and continue to cook on low heat until the cranberries soften, about another 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and add 1/4 cup vegetable broth, stirring until it thickens. Remove from heat and cover.

3. Once the squash is baked, remove it from the oven, remove the skin and cut into cubes. Add to the pan with the remaining 1/4 cup vegetable broth and stir on medium heat until the squash is evenly coated.

4. Mix the squash/shallot/cranberry mixture with the spaetzle, making sure to coat the spaetzle well. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan if you wish. You might also try adding bacon in with the shallots!

Photography by Kristina Gill: rough linen napkin by Axlings (available through Karin Eriksson); cutting board by Andrea Brugi; salt dish (steel) by mud australia; knife from merci; small oak board by Andrea Brugi; navy blue bowl by Christiane Perrochon; crimson striped towel by Zara Home; platter by Molly Hatch (available through Lola Home); crimson napkin by Fog Linen; all other props eBay/fleamarket finds.

Why Molly Chose This Recipe
As a little girl, we never had a special occasion without fresh spaetzle. As a family, we were introduced to spaetzle by our Swiss nanny, Claudia, and we loved them so much that they became a favorite. Spaetzle-making was reserved for special meals mostly due to the labor-intensive process of cutting each little piece of batter by hand. Many years later, my mother was gifted a “spaetzle maker” which is essentially a mandolin for making spaetzle. Something about the convenience of this process just killed the yumminess of the hand-cut spaetzle Claudia and my mother made by hand. As I write this, I find myself wondering if Claudia had a spaetzle maker at home in Switzerland and was just making do with what we had in our American kitchen . . . hmmm . . . to be answered by Swiss D*S readers . . .

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  • From what I understand, spaetzle originates from southern Germany. I never had it when I lived in the French speaking part of Switzerland (but you could order it at some restaurants). I would imagine it’s a bit more widespread in the German speaking part of the country. When I was in Stuttgart, I stayed with a girl who made handmade spaetzle just like this without any special tools. We ate it with a very plain sauce which was tasty, but this version sounds absolutely delicious!

  • Mmm this looks delicious! I used to love having Spaetzle when I lived in Germany. Usually served with butter, cheese and tons of cracked pepper. This looks equally as good. Thanks for sharing!


  • Mmmm. I ate spaetzle almost four years ago in Germany and thought it was the ultimate comfort food. It came in individual little cast iron skillets, and was sooo good. Then at lunchtime today I was in Borough Market (London) and saw it for sale at a stall! I will go back and get some soon and try to recreate it myself. This article is a further inspiration!

  • You are ON Rae! I cant wait for another Berkeley visit. Now that the baby is a toddler I will have more energy for gourmet cook-a-thons!

  • interesting, i’ve never had spaetzle this way. i’m a chef and at my work after it’s been boiled and then shocked in an ice bath, we saute it with butter and oil so that it’s crispy. so amazing that way!

  • I love spaetzle! It is one of my favorite dishes. Thanks for sharing this it sounds so easy. Also another way to ‘drop’ the spaeltzle is to push it through a colander, my grandmother’s neighbor who was from Germany taught me to make it that way.

  • i cant wait to try this! I think I will play with the recipe a bit for my boys and add some sweet potato and raisins!

  • Yum-yum. I love spaetzle! I also love having my spaetzle maker — it lets me have spaetzle more often! Isn’t it funny that some pastas are especially good just for their shape, like orzo and Israeli couscous? Now I want to try this as a dessert pudding, maybe with almonds and raisins, a la marocaine! Thanks for your great idea.

  • @Sanne- I know you’re right, “normal” spaetzle do look quite different, and wholly unappealing for photography sake…

  • I love spaetzle! I’ve never thought to prepare it this way (perhaps it’s the Swiss style) but I am totally going to give it a shot.

  • Thank you! My dad learned to make spaetzle from his Slovak mother (known as haluski) and I treasure the time I finally had him teach me how. No milk, just water, but the technique was exactly the same. Dad made them for stewed chicken. Thank you for bringing all of this back to me!

  • @kristina: You’re totally right. I never thought about that. I guess they would look pretty unappetizing. But your picture makes them look sooo delicious.

  • @Sanne – Thanks for understanding, and sorry for representing them in a way you didn’t quite recognize!! Believe me, I tried it the regular way, and Grace and I decided ‘Hmmmm… let’s see how else we can tackle this”!

  • Spaetzle is gorgeous, thanks for highlighting this wondeful comfort food.Lovely pictures and verry pretty girl- is this Molly ??You’re pretty slim with your love for Spaetzle. Molly !!! :-))

  • I love spaetzle! Just made it this past week, pre-this recipe. And I love the spaetzle-maker my husband and I were gifted for our wedding, basically a spaetzle press.

  • i just made this recipe, and it was fantastic! it took me about two hours, but it was very good.

    i just dropped dollops into the boiling water and it was fantastic. i just watched that youtube video that @sanne linked to and i think i’ll try it that way next. i had forgotten how much i loved spatzel when i visited germany!

  • I’ve been looking forward to making this recipe since you posted it. We made it last night and it was very simple. I used frozen cubed butternut squash and didn’t use any stock. I also fried up some proscuitto and panfried the spatzel with it. It’s simply divine! Thanks for posting.

  • just made this, it’s even better than it sounds! i ended up need almost double the milk to make the dough a workable consistency though. next time, i’ll omit 1/2 c. of flour and add it in as needed. can’t wait to eat the leftovers tommorrow!

  • @stephk – Let me know how changing the proportions works out. I made this recipe twice and found that stiffening up the batter by adding flour (for photography sake) made a tougher spaetzle ‘noodle’, and I actually preferred the softer melt in your mouth version that Molly’s recipe renders. I would be curious to know which of your versions you prefer!

  • Beautiful pictures and very creative recipe!

    I am from Southern Germany, but live in the Bay Area, so whenever my husband and I get homesick, I make ‘Käsespätzle’ – Spätzle with lost of Emmenthal cheese and caramelized onions.
    BTW: the traditional Spätzle recipe has no milk in it, just water, flour and eggs. But there is a similar dish with milk and it is eaten in a sweet version. It’s called ‘Kaiserschmarrn’ – however, the dough is not boiled but fried. So your recipe is probably a crossover between those two dishes. Sounds (and looks) wonderful, I guess I’ll have to try it sometime.

  • I am German and I make Spaetzle aboute very other week with alot of cheese and caramlized onions. I am from Bavaria and that is a major food group there. Yours look so delicious, I have to try your receipe.

  • Made it with acorn squash and wine watered down (no butternut or broth in the kitchen) and it was delicious. Can’t wait to make other recipes with spaetzle, especially the caramelized onions and Emmenthal cheese. : )

  • @Kristina I’ve made this recipe a dozen or so times since I made that comment above, and I just realized you responded to me! figured out the problem: I use a spaetzle maker, so the “dough” needs to be be more like “batter to work”! Thanks, almost 3 years too late :)