Pronunciation: [SHPEHT-sluh; SHPEHT-sehl; SHPEHT-slee]
Literally translated from German as "little sparrow," spaetzle is a dish of tiny noodles or dumplings made with flour, eggs, water or milk, salt and sometimes nutmeg. The spaetzle dough can be firm enough to be rolled and cut into slivers or soft enough to be forced through a sieve or colander with large holes. The small pieces of dough are usually boiled before being tossed with butter or added to soups or other dishes. In Germany, spaetzle is served as a side dish much like potatoes or rice and is often accompanied by a sauce or gravy.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.