The ski season is upon us again and I can’t wait for our annual family retreat to the Swiss alps for some downtime in the snow. Our son is finally old enough to take skiing lessons with the other tiny tots, which means it will only be a matter of time before he will be zooming down the black slopes while I am still trying to master my snowplough.
Another reason why I love being in the mountains is the alpine food. There’s something about the crisp air and wooden chalets which makes one crave rich food like cheese fondue, raclette with grilled meats, and this Swiss Macaroni and Cheese with Applesauce.
In Swiss-German, it is called Älplermagronen, which roughly translates as alpine macaroni. It is the Swiss version of the American macaroni and cheese, but heartier and with bolder flavours.
Like a classic macaroni and cheese, you start this dish by making a white sauce. For the cheese component, I like to use a really strong and aged Gruyère cheese, but any mild Gruyère or Emmental cheese would work too.
Crumbled crispy bacon is an obligatory garnish for meatlovers, and I particularly love this dish served with fried onion rings which add a lovely sweetness and crunch against the soft pasta. Some restaurants give this dish an extra carbohydrate kick with the addition of diced boiled potatoes.
But what makes this dish truly Swiss is the small bowl of applesauce (or apple compote) served alongside. Upon observing my Swiss friends and colleagues eat this dish, there seems to be no hard and fast rule about whether the applesauce should be eaten together with the main dish or as a dessert. I personally prefer to eat it as a dessert; the tart sweetness of the applesauce is a nice end to a rich and creamy meal.
To read more about this dish and to get the recipe, please see my guest post over at Better Homes & Garden this month.
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