Alpine Macaroni (Älplermagronen)

swiss alps

Before I arrived in Switzerland, I thought that the best way to prepare macaroni was the all time classic mac n cheese. My favourite was San Remo instant cheese macaroni, a comfort and convenient food for me for as long as I can remember. However, not long after I was in Luzern, I found myself wolfing down this alpine macaroni (or also commonly known as Swiss-style macaroni) every time I had the chance. It is not exactly the most different from mac n cheese. But different enough for me. It is a typical farmer’s dish. Loaded with fat and carbohydrates but also simple and hassle-free to make. Which is also probably why I get it quite often at my workplace. It is rather common in the German part of Switzerland although I haven’t seen much of it in the French and Italian part of the country. I am not sure where exactly this dish originates from in Switzerland but some people say its from Appenzell, a region and state in German Switzerland.

Alpine Macaroni

alpine macaroni
Serves 5 (I suppose it also depends on your appetite)
Ingredients

  • 125g grated Appenzeller cheese (use any other Swiss cheese if you can’t find Appenzeller. Emmentaler or Gruyere should also be fine)
  • 200g macaroni
  • 150g potatoes, peeled and diced. The size of the dices should be similar in size to the macaroni that you have
  • 125g cream
  • 125g milk
  • 225g white onion, peeled and sliced
  • 40g butter
  • chopped parsley to garnish
  • salt, pepper and grated nutmeg (nutmeg powder) to taste
  • 1 can/jar good quality apple sauce

Steps

  • In a large pot, boil macaroni in salted water for 3 minutes and add diced potatoes. Cook until pasta and potatoes are al dente but not soft and mushy. Strain and pour the pasta and potatoes into a large bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. Strain the mixture again
  • In another large bowl, mix cream, milk and 2/3 of the cheese until well combined. Add the macaroni and potatoes and mix well. Season the mixture with the salt, pepper and nutmeg
  • Pour the mixture into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for approx. 15 minutes in a 200 deg celcius oven or until cheese melts and starts to brown
  • While the macaroni is baking, fry the onions in the butter until it starts to caramelize and turn golden brown. The fried onions are vital as they add a hint of sweetness and smokiness to this rich and starchy dish. Taste the fried onions and season with salt accordingly
  • Heat up the apple sauce in a non-stick pan, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • When the macaroni is out of the oven, tip the onions and spread it evenly over the top of the macaroni
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley and divide the macaroni onto plates. Dollop a serving of warm apple sauce onto the side and serve
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