Spaetzle with Italian Sausage & Mushrooms

I don't know where I first heard about spaetzle but I really like it.  People associate it with Germany but Wikipedia says its origin is unknown.  Wherever it came from it's really easy to make and delicious.    It's very much like pasta but easier to make and you can use it like pasta in many dishes.  They make special spaetzle makers but a cheese grater with big holes will work.  This recipe combines spaetzle, sausage, and mushrooms for an easy to make hearty dinner 

2 cups
all-purpose flour
1 tsp
1 tsp
ground white pepper
large eggs
whole milk

The Rest
1 lb
Italian Sausage (sweet, mild, or hot it's up to you)
1 lb
fresh mushrooms, sliced
medium onion, diced
5 oz
fresh spinach
1 tbl
olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
tsp thyme
tsp oregano
tsp granulated garlic

If you bought sausage in the casing remove it from the casings.  Put the sausage and the onions in a large deep non-stick frying pan.  Brown the sausage over medium heat, breaking it up as it cooks.  The onions will cook with the sausage.  When the sausage is cooked and the onions are clear, remove the sausage and onions from the pan and put them on to a paper towel lined plate to drain and get rid of as much of the rendered fat as possible.  Wipe the frying pan out and add the olive oil.  Keeping the heat on medium, add the spinach and mushrooms and cook until they have given up their liquid and it has evaporated.  Add the cooked sausage and onions, basil, thyme, oregano, and garlic and stir well.  Turn the heat as low as your stove will go.  Just warm enough to keep the sausage mixture warm.

Blend the flour, salt and pepper together in a bowl.  Mix in the milk and eggs making a soft batter.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and set a second large bowl to the side.  Working with ⅓ cup of batter at time and using a rubber spatula, press the batter directly through " holes on a cheese grater or spaetzle maker and let it fall directly into the boiling water.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring the spaetzle to keep it from sticking together.  Scoop the spaetzle out of the water with a slotted spoon, drain, and add the spaetzle to the sausage mixture.  Keep doing this until you run out of spaetzle batter.  When you are done cooking the spaetzle, clean everything the batter touched ASAP or at least get it soaking in water because spaetzle batter sticks like glue.

Add the chicken stock to the frying pan and cook until the stock almost completely evaporates.  Leave a small amount of chicken stock in the pan and the spaetzle will absorb it.