Updated: Mar 21, 2019
Origin - Germany
Maultaschen is a traditional German dish that consists of stuffed square pasta, similar to Italian ravioli but typically larger in size. They are made from a pasta dough which encloses a filling that is made of minced meat, smoked meat, spinach, bread crumbs, and onions, that are well-seasoned with fresh herbs and spices.
It is often simmered and served with broth instead of sauce for more tenderness, but sometimes are pan-fried and buttered for extra richness, color, and texture.
A tangy side like sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) or quark (German sour cheese) will help balance the dish.
[ Fun Fact ]
One of the earliest mentions of the name Maultaschen is associated with a 1794 cookbook, however, these are recipes for sweets and desserts, not a savory meat-filled entree.
[ History ]
Although there are many theories describing the invention of Maultaschen, the most popular story dates the dish to the 17th century when a monk from the Maulbronn Monestary received a large piece of meat during Lent (Religious observance). During Lent, Christians are discouraged from eating meat, however, Maultaschen is humorously associated with Lent because the meat in the dish is hidden underneath the pasta dough, so as to be concealed from God.
In Southwestern areas of Germany, the dish is nicknamed, Herrgottsbescheißerl, which means, "small God-cheaters". Historically, Maultaschen were considered a poor-man’s food because it was a economical and creative way to use left-overs in the fillings. However, now it is served in many restaurants throughout the world.