Ghackets mit Hörnli (Swiss Macaroni with Meat Sauce)
Ghackets mit Hörnli is a winter-perfect Swiss macaroni with meat sauce. This comforting Alpine dish is traditionally served with applesauce, though you can enjoy it after your meal as dessert rather than together if you feel inclined.
Freshly grated Gruyère or Parmesan for garnish (optional)
Heat the butter or oil in a large skillet with a lid or other wide pan with a lid over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté until mostly softened and the onions begin to turn translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the ground beef and cook, stirring to break it apart with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, bay leaf, and dried thyme until incorporated. Add the red wine, stir to dissolve the tomato paste and deglaze the pan. Cook for a few minutes until the wine reduces and mostly evaporates, then add the beef broth and season with salt and pepper.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced. Adjust seasoning if necessary, and remove the bay leaf.
Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain the macaroni and divide it between 4 serving plates or shallow bowls.
Top each serving of macaroni with meat sauce, garnish with grated cheese and serve with applesauce on the side if desired.
Freeze leftover meat sauce in freezer bags or airtight freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
To reheat leftover meat sauce, add sauce to a small saucepan or skillet and add a few drops of water or broth to remoisten it. Reheat on medium-low heat. It may dry out when reheating if you don't add a little liquid back into it.
If you are missing the celery and/or carrots you could still make a delicious meat sauce without them, but the sauce will be a bit less flavorful and robust.
Eating the applesauce with the ghackets mit hörnli is traditional in Switzerland but like anything it's also personal preference. I enjoy eating the applesauce afterwards as dessert, but you can try bites together with the macaroni and meat sauce.