Austrian Mint in "Topfen Nudeln"
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Glad Freer
Posted on: May 20, 2002

A few years ago I planted one austrian mint plant and now it is taking over the garden. I would like to know where I can find a recipe to make "Topfen Nudeln" with this mint. I have looked on the "net", but, have not found a recipe. In your catalogue you state Austrian Mint is essential for this dish!

"Topfen Nudeln" is a ravioli-like dish made with a cottage cheese filling from the Austrian provinces of Styria (Steiermark) and Carinthia (Kaernten). There are local variations, including sweet ones made with apples or with vanilla sugar.

In Carinthian district of Wolfsberg where Richters founder, Otto Richter, came from, a distinctive savoury version of "Topfen Nudeln" is made with cottage cheese and mashed potato filling flavoured with fresh "Brauneminze". My mother used to say that only the true "Brauneminze" from the Wolfsberg area has the correct flavour, and that mint is what Richters sells as "austrian mint".

Unfortunately, we do not have precise recipe for the dish. My mother used to make "Topfen Nudeln" from memory and despite repeated requests for the recipe she never did get the complete recipe on paper.

We have sketch of the recipe from her notes.

Ingredients:

1. soft noodle dough
2. mashed potatoes
3. cottage cheese
4. chopped parsley
5. chopped "Braune Minze" (austrian mint)

My mother’s notes list the quantities: 200, 285, 125, 200, and 250. No units are given, but I think that these must be millilitres because volume measures would have been easier for her and because otherwise if these these proportions are by weight the fresh herbs would overwhelm the dish.

My mother’s notes go on:

- "form small ball from mixed 2-5" [i.e., ingredients 2-5 mixed together]
- "place onto thin noodle dough, fold the dough over and cut around with cookie cutter" [there is a drawing of semi circle shape]
- "boil in salt water"
- "butter them after lifting out"
- "serve with green salad"

From another potato topfen-nudeln recipe (without mint), the instructions for boiling the step is to ease the freshly made "nudeln" in boiling salt water and cook over a low flame for 8-10 minutes. Then lift carefully, rinse with cold water, and allow excess water to drain. Melted butter (50 g) is mixed in with the "nudeln" before serving.

I don’t have the recipe for the "soft noodle dough" but I think that any ravioli pasta recipe will work. One recipe that makes 325 g of pasta is:

2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces warm water

Put flour on table or counter and form a "nest" in the middle. Break eggs over nest. Add salt, oil, and a little water, and with fork, beat mixture. Gradually mix the flour into the middle, adding water as needed. The consistency should be thick and pasty. Continue mixing until the ball of dough cannot absorb any more flour and doesn’t stick to the table or counter. If the consistency is right, you should be able to rub your hands together and have residual pasta on your hands ball up and fall off easily. If the pasta is too wet and sticky, add flour; if it is too dry, add water. Then knead the dough with the heel of palms, pushing dough out to stretch it – for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Divide into equal pieces and roll with a rolling pin until the pasta is thin, like thick paper.

If I ever find the complete recipe for "Braune Minze Topfen Nudeln" I will post it on the Richters website.

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