We continue to delve deeper into the mysteries of Swiss cuisine. Today we will look at a traditional recipe for pasta, which we hope you like as much as we do. Something relatively simple and at the same time sophisticated, which is guaranteed to delight your gastronomic senses.
As we already know, alpine cuisine covers the traditions of several regions. Her dishes are most often inspired by life in the mountains.
It is characterized by the use of dairy products , especially with its cheeses – Appenzell, Gruyere, Alterschweizer, Emmental, etc., as well as some typical alcoholic beverages and wines, as well as pasta, pasta and desserts.
There are some products that are specific to certain places and are only found there. Sauerkraut, called sauerkraut, for example, is a popular Bavarian dish that is not prepared according to an old custom in the southern parts of the region.
Sweet chestnuts are widely used in the Italian and French-speaking parts of the Alps, but are much less common in the Bavarian or Austrian Alps.
Today we will dive into the world of alpine specialties to get acquainted with a real temptation – namely, the so-called älplemagrone or älplermacaroni.
It can be said that this is the Swiss reading of pasta with cheese. Translated, the name of the dish literally means “alpine pasta”. The difference is that potatoes are added to it.
Many people mistakenly believe that cheese pasta is a dish derived from Italian and Italian American cuisine. In fact, this is not the case. The real inventors of pasta with cheese are undoubtedly the greatest masters of their preparation are the Swiss from the Italian canton Ticino.
The history of the dish dates back to the daily life of shepherds in this part of the Alps, who needed to carry their food for long distances for lunch.
Dry pasta, potatoes and cheese were good choices, as they could be put in saddlebags and cooked on the spot. So the shepherds had hot food to support themselves. They have had the opportunity to perfect the recipe over the centuries.
What is even more wonderful in this case is that the recipe is relatively easy to prepare and all the products in it are easily available on the Bulgarian market.
The interesting thing about äplermagrone is that they are served with a garnish of apple puree Of course, it is not as sweet as what we are used to eating for dessert. Try it and see how you like it.
Necessary products for the preparation of 4 portions:
- 200 – 250 g penne or other paste of your choice
- 200 g Gruyere or other Swiss cheese
- 500 g of potatoes
- 2 large or 3 medium onions for caramelization
- 60 g of butter
For topping :
- 40 g of cooking cream
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- salt – to taste
- ground black pepper – to taste
For the apple puree garnish:
- 700 g of yellow or red apples
- the juice of two small lemons or one large one
- up to 1 tablespoon of sugar – optional
Method of preparation
We first start by preparing the potatoes. Peel them and cut them into medium-sized cubes and set them aside in lukewarm water. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Prepare a large saucepan by greasing it, if desired – cover with baking paper.
After the potatoes are soaked in the pot , change the water and add salt, turning on the stove to heat to a high temperature, and after 3-4 minutes reduce to medium and add the pasta at the same time.
Cook until almost done (7 – 12 minutes according to the description of the package or according to the type of pasta). Be careful not to cook them completely, because they are yet to be baked. After draining the pasta and potatoes, set them aside to cool. Prepare the cream for cooking by seasoning it with pepper and salt.
Prepare a suitable baking tray and apply the first layer of pasta mixture as a base. Top with the cheese and continue with the next layer of pasta until exhaustion of the products .
If we can’t find Gruyere cheese, we can choose another type of Swiss cheese of your choice. It is recommended that it be firmer and more porous, so that the dish has the same texture.
It’s time to put the cream filling by pouring it on top. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until it gets an appetizing crust.
Now it’s time to prepare the caramelized onions. We will do this by cutting it into small pieces and then putting it to fry in butter or oil, preheated to medium heat.
Be sure to salt with a little salt and pepper, if you like, you can also add paprika to taste. Our onions are ready when they get a tempting golden brown color.
It’s time for the apples for the sauce. Peel them and bone them. Then cut them into small pieces and sprinkle with lemon juice so that they do not turn black. Thus prepared, the apples are placed in a deep pan and stewed for 15-20 minutes.
Puree with a blender or through a strainer and add sugar or a drop of sweetener (optional). This same sauce can be used as a side dish and for roasts and many other potato dishes from Swiss cuisine, and more.
As a final step , remove the finished älplermagrone from the oven and sprinkle on top with caramelized onions. Serve everything with apple sauce, and we can put it in a serving dish on the side or even directly next to the pasta, if we like.
We present to your attention the recipe for älplermagrone in its original, authentic form. There are some variations of it, in which the pasta is prepared with minced meat (gehacktes), sometimes we can put a little bacon with caramelized onions – you can also experiment with additives to your liking.
Thus prepared, the dish is ideal not only for a nutritious family gathering, but also for a romantic and cozy evening in solitude with your partner. Consume with a glass of good red wine.
Recently in Bulgaria Italian and Swiss delicacies are gaining more and more popularity. If you want to try a real älplermagrone in alpine style and with hand-made fresh penne , be sure to visit the Swiss restaurant “Fondue” in the mountain Bulgarian resort of Bansko.