When I think of the food of Switzerland, I think of cheese. So in choosing a dish to make from the land of yodelling, I decided to veganise Aelplermagrone, or Alpine farmer’s macaroni.
Aelplermagrone is a simple, cheesy pasta and potato casserole that’s full of wonderful homely flavours. I had an inkling (well, more than an inkling) that Mr Thrifty would love it, since it contains one of his favourite foods in the world, the versatile spud.
And love it he did. It took a lot of willpower, he said — after polishing off a second helping — to abstain from thirds and instead save some for his lunch the next day.
Besides sauteed potatoes, the dish contains slow-cooked onions, macaroni, meatless “bacon”, and a simple vegan cheese sauce made with soya milk, vegan sour cream and vegan cheese.
For the vegan cheese, I used half Smoked Cheddar Sheese and half Mozzarella Cheezly.
Served with a salad, it’s the kind of meal that’s perfect for a cool autumn evening… regardless of whether the view from your dining room is the Alps, or just the back garden.
Alpine farmer’s macaroni
|2 teaspoons||extra virgin olive oil||2 teaspoons|
|2 teaspoons||vegan margarine||2 teaspoons|
|200g||onions, halved & thinly sliced||7 ounces|
|1 clove||garlic, minced||1 clove|
|200g||potatoes, cut into 1cm (1/2″) chunks||7 ounces|
|115g||elbow macaroni||4 ounces|
|2 slices||vegan “bacon”||2 slices|
|125ml||soya milk||1/2 cup|
|4 tablespoons||vegan sour cream||4 tablespoons|
|60g||vegan cheese||2 ounces|
|salt & freshly ground pepper to taste|
1. Heat one teaspoon olive oil and one teaspoon margarine in a heavy skillet over low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Add garlic, cook another five minutes.
2. While onions are cooking, parboil potatoes in boiling salted water for five minutes. Drain.
3. In the same water, cook macaroni according to package directions, until just tender.
4. Heat one teaspoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of margarine over medium heat. Fry parboiled potatoes until browned and crispy, 10-12 minutes.
5. Put potatoes and macaroni in a small casserole dish and mix.
6. Gently fry vegan bacon in a little olive oil until warmed through, a minute or two each side. Chop into small pieces and add to casserole dish.
7. Make sauce: Gently heat soya milk with vegan sour cream until just hot. Stir in vegan cheese and continue to heat, stirring with a whisk, until cheese is melted.
8. About 10 minutes before onions are done, preheat oven to 175C (350F).
9. When onions are finished cooking, add them to the casserole dish along with the sauce. Mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and mix again.
10. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
Makes two generous servings.