Noodles made from grain flour were an integral aspect of the daily diet in central Europe long before the Polos came back from China with their stories about the food they ate in Asia.
Spelt, which thrived in poor soils, was a popular cereal across Europe because it was high in protein. By the 18th century it was being used to make the pasta noodles known as knöpfle and spätzle.
Several regions in the mountain areas around the Alps regard these noodles as their ‘national’ dish, the principality of Liechtenstein being one.
Dough 250 g spelt flour 4 eggs 100 ml water 50 g semolina 15 ml aromatic oil 1 tsp salt
Dressing 300 g Appenzeller or Gruyère, grated 3 onions, cut into rings 15 g flour Clarified butter
Sieve flour and salt into a large bowl with the semolina.
Beat eggs with water and oil.
Pour egg mixture into flour, beat with a spoon to produce a thin smooth dough. Leave to rest for 30min.
Boil a large pot of salted water.
Using a spatula, push dough through strainer holes into boiling water.
Cook knöpfli until they rise to the surface, about 3min, lift out, drain.
Keep warm in 80°C oven.
Dredge onion rings in flour, fry in butter until crisp.
Dress knöpfli in cheese, top with onions.