120: Liechtenstein: Käsknöpfle

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Liechtenstein a tiny little dot smack in the middle of Europe. Squeezed in between Switzerland and Austria. Liechtenstein is the stuff of fairytales – a mountain principality governed by an iron-willed monarch, embedded deep in the Alps and crowned by tiny castles. Only 25km long by 12km wide (at its broadest point), Liechtenstein doesn’t have an international airport, and access from Switzerland or Austria is by local bus. The western, more populated side of the country is in the Rhine Valley and relatively flat; the east is mountainous. Outdoor enthusiasts are in their element here, with a large number of trails to hike and slopes to ski given the country’s size. Go out into the Alpine wilderness beyond Vaduz and, suddenly, this landlocked little nation no longer seems so small.

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Things you didn’t know about Liechtenstein:

  • Switzerland unintentionally invaded Liechtenstein in March 2007, when about 170 Swiss infantry soldiers wandered across the unmarked border for more than a mile into Liechtenstein before realizing their mistake.
  • Once a year, ALL the residents are invited to party in a castle. On Liechtenstein’s national holiday, His Serene Highness Prince Hans-Adam II, the head of state, and his son, His Serene Highness Hereditary Prince Alois, invite the residents of their tiny principality to have a beer in the garden of Vaduz Castle, the princely ancestral residence.
  • It’s the world’s leading manufacturer of false teeth. Based in the mini-metropolis of Schaan, a company called Ivoclar Vivadent leads the world in false teeth manufacturing, accounting for 20 percent of the total sales worldwide.
  • In a pamphlet directed toward new immigrants, mowing lawns or holding “noisy festivities” during the country’s official lunch break, which runs from noon to 1:30 p.m, is strongly advised against. The same holds true after 10 p.m.
  • Liechtenstein was originally purchased by the princes of Liechtenstein—the principality was christened after their family name—for its political value. The princes bought what’s now known as Liechtenstein because it was the last remnant of the Holy Roman Empire, and owning it meant that they could obtain a seat and a vote in the Imperial Diet in Vienna, thereby increasing their power.

This good fulfilling recipe will warm you right up after an intensive day of skiing in the mountains or hiking it’s very nice and cheesy!

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup water (or more)
  • 8 oz. Gruyere (Emmental or similar cheese), grated
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  1. Sift the flour into a bowl. Add salt.
  2. In another bowl, beat the eggs and 1 cup of water.
  3. Add eggs to flour. Mix well to form a thick dough. If the dough is not thin enough to go through the holes in the ladle or colander, add a little water until reaching the right texture.
  4. Set aside for twenty minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, fry the onions in a lightly oiled pan. Stir regularly until onions are caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add a tablespoon of salt.
  7. When the water is boiling, push the dough through the holes of a slotted spoon or colander. The dough should fall like “thick rain” and form tiny oblong balls. (Okay this all seems easy… but if you have a colander with tiny holes, this takes ages, so after testing and messing up a few times, I took my salad dryer! And it worked like a charm!!!!!)
  8. The pasta is ready when it floats back to the surface after one to two minutes.
  9. Immediately drain the pasta in a colander.
  10. Put the pasta in a bowl and add the cheese. Stir so that the cheese melts.
  11. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with the caramelized onions.

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