Baked Mac & Cheese with Tomatoes

Andy Anderson !


As the winds begin blowing from the north, and the nights get longer, we turn our attention to comfort foods. I love comfort foods, and a good macaroni and cheese definitely qualifies as one of my top ten.

My mother used to make this basic comfort food, in the Autumn, and Winter months when we lived in the south suburbs of Chicago, IL. She claimed the recipe came from a restaurant she went to in New York City; however, she neglected to give the name.

Anyway, put another log on the fire; curl up with a good book, and a hearty bowl of M&C… Enjoy.

★★★☆☆ 1 vote
30 Min
30 Min


1/4 lb
classic macaroni, elbow variety
2 Tbsp
sweet butter, unsalted
2 Tbsp
flour, all purpose
1/2 tsp
salt, table variety
1 pinch
freshly ground white pepper
1 pinch
cayenne pepper
1 1/2 c
whole milk
2 Tbsp
heavy cream
1 c
extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c
panko bread crumbs
1/2 c
diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp
sugar, granulated


1Place the tomatoes in a small prep bowl, add the sugar, and gently mix. Set bowl aside.

Chef's Note: There are a lot of excellent canned tomatoes, out there, but one that is pretty much available in the U.S. are Hunt's… Good value… Good tomatoes.
2Cook the macaroni in a pot of boiling water until al dente. Then drain, and rinse in a colendar using cool water, to stop the cooking process.
3Chef’s Note: In cooking, al dente describes pasta and that have been cooked so as to be firm but not hard. Keeping the pasta firm is especially important in baked dishes, where the pasta is cooked twice.
The term "al dente" comes from Italian and means "to the tooth" or "to the bite", and is referring to the need to chew the pasta due to its firmness.

One other point: Pasta that is cooked al dente has a lower glycemic index than pasta that is cooked soft.
4Mix the flour, salt, and the peppers, together in a small prep bowl.
5In a small saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter, and then gradually add the flour mixture.
6Whisk until you have a smooth blonde roux, about 3 minutes.
7Mix the milk, and the cream together, and then slowly add to the roux. Reduce the heat to medium, and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, about 3 to 4 minutes.
8Add the cheese, and continue to stir over medium heat until the cheese has melted into the sauce.
9Add the drained macaroni to the sauce, plus the reserved tomatoes, and 1/4 cup of the panko breadcrumbs, then gently stir to combine.

Add the mixture to an ovenproof dish, and sprinkle the remaining panko breadcrumbs over the top.
10Place on the middle rack of a preheated 400f (200c) oven, and bake until bubbly, and the top begins to brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Keep the faith, and keep cooking…

About this Recipe

Main Ingredient: Pasta
Regional Style: American
Dietary Needs: Soy Free
Other Tag: Quick & Easy