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Älplermagronen (Alpine Macaroni and Cheese)

This hearty traditional Alpine dish is a favorite among Swiss families and is usually served with sautéed apples. The recipe is adapted from the cookbook A Taste of Switzerland by Sue Style (who is a good friend of the writer).

Thank you to John and Anne Hoyt, founders of Leelanau Cheese, for the recipe! Read their story in the January 2018 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine!

Makes 8 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pound dried tubular pasta, such as elbow macaroni or penne
  • 2 medium-large waxy potatoes, such as Yukon gold, unpeeled and cut into large dice
  • 8 slices bacon (6 slices if thick-cut)
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream (or half and half)
  • Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 12 ounces Leelanau Cheese aged* raclette, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large onions, halved and sliced thinly on the bias

Sautéed Apples

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 4 firm red apples, such as Honeycrisp or Braeburn, cored and cut into wedges
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 1 cinnamon stick, halved
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large ovenproof casserole dish.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet until just below smoking point. Add bread crumbs and toast, stirring constantly, until golden brown (this will only take a few minutes). Season with salt and set aside.

Cook pasta in a large pot according to package directions. Drain, but do not rinse. Boil potatoes in salted water separately until just tender, being careful not to overcook them. Drain and add to pasta.

Cut bacon slices into ¼-inch thick strips and fry in a skillet until lightly golden. Drain fat and add cream and pepper to skillet. Bring to a simmer. Pour cream and bacon over pasta and potatoes in pot and mix gently. Layer the mixture alternately with cheese in the casserole dish, ending with cheese. Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs (reserve any extra crumbs for later use). Bake until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes, checking at 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry onion in butter over medium heat in a large skillet until nicely caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Scatter onions on top of pasta and potatoes.

Serve with sautéed apples.

*Aged raclette cheese is only available at the Leelanau Cheese shop in Suttons Bay. It is firmer and more pungent than classic raclette cheese, but the latter may be substituted with equally good results.

Sautéed Apples

Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add apples, cider, cinnamon stick halves, and sugar to pan and stir to combine. Cover and simmer until apples begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove lid, cook a bit longer to reduce liquid, and serve warm.

Apples can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Rewarm before serving.