Kitchen management is a challenge at the best of times. Throw in a global pandemic, a nationwide lockdown and several shopping restrictions, and we’ve got a task on our hands.
But, with a bit of time, some creativity – and with the ability to digitally share our recipes and ideas – we’ll be able to share some easy-to-follow recipes in each newsletter bulletin. First up, it’s my Alpen Macaroni…
In the mid 70s I spent a couple of years working in Switzerland, mainly in the Engadine Mountains around St Moritz and Davos. This pasta dish was always a big hit at the staff table. Hot, cheesy and comforting – it’s quick, simple and cheap to make; perfect lockdown food!
The apple sauce is a bit of an oddity – a peculiarly Swiss thing, but it really helps cut through the richness of the pasta gratin. Try it with a leaf salad and a fairly sharp, mustard dressing.
225g Maris Piper (or other maincrop potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5cm cubes)
125g macaroni or penne
1 finely diced onion
70g streaky bacon, cut into chunks
2tbls white wine
140ml chicken stock
240ml whipping cream
Salt and pepper, to season
½tbsl chopped parsley
25g grated Gruyere cheese
- Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the potatoes. Simmer for 3 or 4 minutes before throwing in the pasta.
- Continue cooking until the potatoes are tender and the pasta al dente. Drain in a colander.
- Melt the butter in a wide pan and sweat the onions and bacon until the onions are soft.
- Add the wine, scraping the base of the pan to release any tasty residue.
- Simmer and reduce the wine by half, then add the stock and cream.
- Add the pasta/potato mix and simmer on a low heat until the liquids are absorbed and the mixture is thick and unctuous.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper before stirring in the chopped parsley.
- Transfer to an ovenproof dish, scatter the grated cheese over the top and glaze under the grill or in a hot oven.
- Serve with apple sauce on the side, and a green salad.
300g Bramley apples
½ cinnamon stick
1 pinch grated nutmeg
¼ lemon (juice)
½tsp caster sugar
- Peel, core and dice the apples.
- Put into a stainless steel pan with the sugar, lemon juice, water, butter and spices.
- Cover and cook gently for 15-20 minutes, or until the apples collapse.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and clove, then puree the apples with a hand blender.
- Cool and serve.
- This will make more than you need, but it freezes well. You can use a store-bought alternative if you wish. You won’t get the sack!