Macaroni & Cheese With Tomatoes

From The Complete Cook's Country TV Show Cookbook

To get bright, tomatoey flavor, undercooking the pasta and adding petite canned diced tomatoes with their juices to the drained macaroni allowes the pasta to soak up more of the tomato flavor. Returning the pasta to the heat afterward allows the noodles to absorb some of the tomato juice.

Comfort, Mac & Cheese and Tomatoes

Let the finished dish rest for 10 to 15 minutes before you serve, otherwise, it will be soupy.

Ingredients

  • 1 Lb elbow macaroni
  • salt and pepper
  • 28 Oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 6 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 Tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Lb mild cheddar cheese, shredded (4 cups)
  • 8 Oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)

What to do with them

  1. Adjust oven rack to midle position and heat oen to 400º. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large Dutch oven. Add macaroni and 1 Tbs salt and cook, stirring often, until just al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour diced tomatoes with their juices over pasta and stir to coat. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cayenne and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in half-and-half and bbroth until smooth. Bring to boil, areduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses, 1 Tsp salt, and 1 Tsp pepper until cheeses melt. Pour sauce over macaroni and stir t ocombine.
  3. Scrape mixture into 13" x 9" baking dish set in rimmed baking sheet and bake until top begins to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving