If you told me five years ago that I would be running two businesses with relative success, I would not believe you. It wasn’t that long ago that I was struggling as a private chef, applying for endless amounts of jobs. Now I can proudly say that I am able to hold on to a steady group of clients. In addition, I have started a school lunch meal delivery company almost two years ago and have met my goal of acquiring at least 100 students by the first year. With two businesses come sacrifices including my Sundays, ample rest and time. There never seems to be enough time to do anything anymore including writing for my blog. So today, I’m bringing a recipe for a dish I created for a client of mine. Crispy spaetzle with pea pesto and ricotta cream sauce is a meal that screams spring with its bright flavors. I’ll admit it’s not an easy dish to prepare but the effort is well worth it!
- ¼ cup parsley
- ¼ cup basil
- ¼ cup mint
- ¼ cup garlic infused oil
- ¼ cup gran padana
- 1 cup frozen peas
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 cup milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup ricotta
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, blanched, sliced
- grated parmesan
- 1. Prepare pesto. Blend together herbs, garlic infused oil, gran padana, peas and water. Process until creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- 2. Fill small pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add sugar snap peas and blanch for 2 minutes or until crisp. Drain snap peas and place in an ice bath. Once cooled, drain snap peas and thinly slice. Set aside.
- 3. Make the spaetzle. Whisk together flour, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk. Add egg mixture to the flour, mixing until smooth. The batter will be thick, almost like a dough. Let sit for 20 minutes.
- 4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Using a colander with ¼ inch holes, set it above the pot of water, spooning 1 cup of the batter into the colander. Press the batter through the holes using a spatula, dropping the dough directly into the water.
- 5. Cook spaetzle for 2-3 minutes or until they start to rise to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse with cold water. Repeat with remaining dough.
- 6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- 7. Toss spaetzle with 1 tbsp oil and spread evenly on lined baking sheet. Toast until lightly browned and crispy, about 10 minutes.
- 8. Meanwhile, make the ricotta cream sauce. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add flour and mix to combine with the butter, creating a roux. Add the milk and stir to combine. Once the milk comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and stir in the ricotta. Cook 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
- 9. Remove spaetzle from the oven. Ladle ricotta cream sauce on bottom of the plates. Spoon spaetzle on top of the sauce followed by dollops of the pesto. Sprinkle sugar snap peas on top and finish with grated parmesan. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Spaetzle is a dish that I actually learned how to prepare in culinary school. Simply put, it is a type of pasta. However, unlike pasta, the dough can be made in no time and the noodles cooked almost immediately.
To make the spaetzle, whisk together the flour, salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until smooth. The batter will be thicker than pancake mix, almost like a dough. Let the mixture rest for 20 minutes.
When you are ready, boil a pot of water. Spoon the spaetzle batter into the colander over the pot of water and press the batter through the holes. The dough should make little droplets right into the water. As the spaetzle cooks, it will rise to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and repeat with the remaining dough.
If you have a spaetzle maker this will make the procedure much easier.
Once the spaetzle has been cooked, finish toasting them in the oven to get them nice and crispy.
Meanwhile, prepare the ricotta cream sauce. This sauce has the backbones of a bechamel, replacing the traditional parmesan with ricotta. You want the sauce to be a smooth, creamy sauce with enough thickness to coat the spaetzle. One tip: when adding the milk, be sure to add in a steady constant stream. I have learned from my mistakes that if milk heats up too quickly, it will curdle.
Since this dish requires many elements, you can make the pesto and blanch the snap peas the day before to save some time.
Finish plating your crispy spaetzle with pea pesto and ricotta cream sauce and dig in! The combination of crispy snap peas with fresh mint pesto and a creamy ricotta sauce all work together to create one beautiful dish. This meal will surely impress everyone at your table.
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.