German recipes: Maultaschen (German pasta)
This Maultaschen recipe is one of my absolute favourites. Oma (Grandma) used to make this for special occasions, or rather it was her way of showing us how much she loved us, as a little bit of work involved in making this dish from scratch.
If I ever think about my Oma, I often picture her in her floral apron, in the kitchen, in front of her large wooden kitchen table, rolling out the dough to make Maultaschen.
Of course, this recipe was in her head and so a few years before she passed away, I had Maultaschen cooking lessons with her. She would pour the ingredients into a bowl, I would pour them out, measure them, write the details down and pour back in again. She would laugh at me and continue. We made this dish together twice and every time I make it now, I always think of her. This recipe is very dear to my heart and it’s one of my absolute favourite dishes.
Maultaschen is from Baden Wurttemberg in Germany, of which Stuttgart is the capital. It is tradition to eat Maultaschen on Good Friday, as traditionally, this dish was created to “hide” the meat inside the pasta – as you are supposed to eat fish on Good Friday and avoid red meat.
In Stuttgart, Maultaschen is available to buy everywhere. All supermarkets have packaged varieties and many restaurants sell it. When I’m in Germany I eat so much Maultaschen, it’s a running joke with my German friends.
Maultaschen can be eaten in a soup, on its own with salad, fried, cut and part of an omlette, or even with a tomato sauce and cheese on top, baked in an oven.
The recipe below makes enough for 8 adults. It freezes really well, so any leftovers can be frozen and then reheated in a broth or fried.
I hope you take the time one weekend to try this historical recipe. It’s really worth it.
For the filling:
- 500 gr spinach, boiled and minced
- 500 gr beef mince
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 clove
- 1 teaspoon salt (this is a lot, however you don’t have a large amount of filling for each Maultaschen, which is why you need to filling to be well salted)
- Good pinch pepper, nutmeg and oregano
For the dough:
- 500 gr plain flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon oil
- large pinch salt
- about 1/2 cup water
I often make the filling the day before, as you want it to be cold when assembling the Maultaschen.
In a large frying pan, fry the onions in a little oil until light browned. Add the beef and cook until brown. Add the garlic and spices and mix well. Take the pan off the heat and add the eggs and spinach. Mix together well and set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, add all the dough ingredients excluding the water. Slowly pour in some of the water and mix well with your hands. Continue adding a little water at a time until you have a dough. Knead with your hands for about 5-10 minutes, until you have a nice smooth dough.
Fill a very large pot or saucepan with water and add a good pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil. Bring this water to boil.
Divide the dough into four. With each ball of dough, roll out on a floured surface into a rectangular shape and until it’s as thin as a ravioli dough, about as thick as a coin. (see video below to demonstrate)
You can then stretch carefully with your hands and spoon about 3 tablespoons of filling onto half of the dough, not to the edges. Fold the dough in half and press the edges together with a little water.
Cut the dough into 5 cm (2 inch) squares with the side of a small plate, trying to make sure that the edges are as closed as possible.
Immediately drop the uncooked Maultaschen into the boiling water. When each Maultaschen rises to the top, scoop out with a slotted spoon into a sieve / strainer. Repeat this process with the other 3 balls of dough.
The Maultaschen is now ready to eat (or once cooled, frozen).
The water that was used to cook the Maultaschen is a great broth for your Maultaschen soup.