Couscous-size rivels spread out to dry
This recipe for rivels comes from one of my mother’s wonderful recipe scrapbooks. I have written about these books before… they are simple three-ring binders with pages of plain notebook paper, and the first entries date back to shortly after my mother was married. Some of the recipes were cut from magazines or newspapers and pasted on the pages… others are handwritten by the person who gave her the recipe or by my mother herself. I especially enjoy the notes and comments my mother has made in the margins of each recipe… and the variety of information she has in these books.
But back to the recipe for rivels… this was one of the earlier entries, and my mother says she has no idea who gave her the recipe. I would guess that whoever it was made rivels regularly because this recipe is so brief and unspecific:
“Here’s how rivels are made. Make a pile of flour on your bread board, then make a well. Break an egg in the well. Beat with a fork and use as much flour as the egg will absorb. Make a soft ball (not sticky) then grate. Sprinkle gratings on bread board to dry a little so they won’t stick together when dropped in hot milk or broth.”
Rivels make delicious soup noodles. They are also easy and quick to make. When I made two batches of rivels yesterday, the whole process literally took only a few minutes. I used to make rivels by hand as described in the recipe above, mixing the eggs into the flour with a fork until I had a soft ball of dough. Now I use the food processor (my favorite small appliance) using approximately two cups of flour, two eggs, and a pinch of salt for each batch. I pulse the salt, flour, and eggs until a soft ball is formed, then I work the dough with my fingers or a fork until the mixture becomes crumbly. Sometimes, depending on the size of the eggs, type of flour, etc., it is necessary to add a small amount of additional flour into the dough before it will crumble nicely. I have seen recipes specifying making the “lumps” the size of small peas, popcorn, or cherry pits… but we prefer smaller, couscous-size rivels. All rivels will become slightly larger once they are cooked.
In most recipes rivels are made and immediately cooked, but I spread the little “lumps” out on my cutting board to dry for a few hours or even overnight. This drying time completely prevents the rivels from clumping when they are cooked.
So what kind of soup did I make with the rivels? That’s another post!