Swiss G’hacktes mit Hörnli {macaroni with meat sauce}

I decided to give up on downhill skiing. It’s an expensive sport to keep trying to enjoy and I just don’t think I will ever get there. The process alone of putting on the uncomfortable boots and carrying the skis to the lift starts the day off all wrong for me. For most people, getting to the top of the mountain makes that part all worth it, but for me, looking down the mountain turns my stomach in knots, inches my shoulders up to my ears, and tenses up my whole body. I wish I enjoyed it, but I don’t and I’m learning to accept it (and so is Jon). The best part about skiing for me has always been lunch on top of the mountain, preferably outside with the sun shining on me. And guess what? I don’t have to ski to do that! I can have my morning as usual, filled with some yoga and a chai tea, and take the gondola up once the clock strikes noon.



I’m sure glad I figured this out, because we have spent a lot of time in the mountains this winter. There are so many cute Swiss mountain towns and even though we’ve been to a handful, we haven’t begun to see all of them. Our first visit to the mountains was to see the Matterhorn in Zermatt. And this year, we have been to Davos, Andermatt, and most recently, Lenzerheide.




Each town has their own unique charm, but there is one thing that is always the same; Swiss comfort food. 

Ghacket's und Hornli_3

Since fondue and I are no longer on speaking terms, I have started trying everything else on the menu that I might get along with. Some of my favorites include the bratwurst with a nice onion gravy and pommes, goulash soup, rösti (hashbrowns with different toppings), and of course, the g’hacktes mit hörnli. 

Ghacket's und Hornli_2

The first time I tried g’hacktes mit hörnli was at our friend’s ski apartment in Lenzerheide. The location of their apartment could not be more convenient for skiers. It is a mere ten steps to the ski lift that gets you on the mountain, which makes it easy for the skiers to pop in for a quick lunch. My friend made this meal the last time we were there and we loved it. The sauce is a perfect change of pace from your average Bolognese sauce, and in addition to the nice meat sauce atop macaroni, it’s served with applesauce (apfelmus). My sweet and savory loving taste buds were happy.

Ghacket's und Hornli_

This past weekend, we were back in Lenzerheide and on day two (after I got in my lunch in the sun on the mountain), Jon requested the “muesli thing” for lunch. Muesli is in fact a mixture of cereals, oats, and fruit…that he never eats. But somehow, in knowing him for the past five years, I knew exactly what he really wanted. 


The –li on the end let me know he really wanted the other thing with the –li on the end: hörnli. So I figured it was time to give this Swiss favorite a whirl…

G'hackets und Hornli_Process

…and I can happily report that with a meal like this, it’s worth having lunch inside every once in a while.

G'hacktes mit Hörnli
Serves 4
A hearty meat sauce with macaroni and applesauce; a traditional Swiss comfort food, also known as g'hacktes mit hörnli.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 1 lb// 400g ground beef
  2. 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  3. 2 medium celery sticks, finely diced
  4. 1 medium onion, finely diced
  5. 1 cup // 250mL red wine
  6. 1 cup// 250mL beef stock
  7. 3 tablespoons tomato puree
  8. 1 teaspoon paprika
  9. ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  10. salt and pepper to taste
  11. 1 lb// 450 grams macaroni
  12. 2 cups//400 grams applesauce
  1. Saute the beef, onions, carrot, celery, and carrot together until the beef is browned and the onions are transparent, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the wine, stock, tomato puree, paprika, and thyme to the pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until all the vegetables are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a separate pot, boil water with dash of salt and prepare the macaroni according to the package. Drain the macaroni and portion into bowls.
  3. Spoon the beef mixture on top of the macaroni. Serve with applesauce.
  4. Optional: Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of the beef sauce.
Adapted from Betti Bossi
Adapted from Betti Bossi
Caitlin Ball

11 Responses

  1. Wow, nice job recreating this and I love your honesty about skiing in this post. I can totally relate! I tried snowboarding once in college in Tahoe and everything from being scared on the ski lift to the freezing cold and wearing SO much equipment in the snow wasn’t for me. After one time I retired to enjoying the lounges and every time we go to the Swiss mountains we enjoy the views and go up to the top, but never ski. 🙂 Lol, I’m not on speaking terms with fondue either. Great post Caitlin and enjoy the mountains before summer.


    1. It’s refreshing to hear that there are other non-skiiers! It seems like everyone around here skis so I was feeling the pressure, but just don’t want to bother with it anymore! good thing summer is on it’s way 🙂

  2. I haven’t been skiing in 2 years! Mostly because Tahoe has had horrible snow. But nothing better than time spent in the lodge! Sounds like you and Jon had a nice little trip to the mountains. This pasta sounds so good!

    1. I’m so glad you liked it! It’s one of our winter favorites as well. And kid approved is always a good thing 🙂

  3. You forgot another Swiss comfort food ‘Gershten soupe’
    Made of Barley, vegetable and bacon bits. Must try !

  4. I went to Switzerland a couple of months ago and had the most amazing pasta dish id ever tried. Came back home and searched online to try and find it because I was craving it so badly!!
    Thank god I came upon your recipe! It’s almost identical to the one I tried and as an added bonus my kids love it too!! Thank you so much for posting xx

    1. Hi Julia, I’m so glad you found it! It really is tasty and a nice twist to a normal bolognese sauce.

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