Maultaschen is the German version of ravioli, with fillings that stimulate a Deutsche palate. This side dish comes from Swabia in southwestern Germany. According to folklore, these noodle pockets originated in an attempt to hide food from God.
Swabia is a mountainous region along the Danube River near Stuttgart, Germany. Swabians call Maultaschen, “Herrgottsbescheißerle,” or “Little cheaters of God.” Allegedly local Catholic monks, who were forbidden to eat meat during the Lenten season, designed these noodle pockets to hide the sausage and other meat fillings. It is more likely this dish emigrated from Italy, 460 km/285 miles to the south, or borrowed in Polish Pierogies from the east.
My Great-great-great grandfather left the Swabian village of Beuron for America in 1858. It is no surprise Grandma Weber served stuffed pockets in soups.
To make Maultaschen noodles, pull out your favorite pasta recipe of flour, eggs, salt, and oil. With a pasta maker of roller, make a sheet of dough, about 1/8” thick. Cut the dough into 1 ½ squares. Add a teaspoon of fillings. Seal the top with egg white. The pockets are most likely boiled, but they also are baked as part of a casserole. German fillings include: chopped bratwurst; pork; mince meat; cheese; spinach; potatoes; and various spices.
Like Grandma, it can be served in soup or substitute for spaetzle as a side dish. In spring these pockets join spargel – white asparagus. Both are doused with hollandaise sauce.
I recommend a bratwurst, spinach, and cheese filling. So give Maultaschen a try. Just remember, God knows what you are up to.