cheesy mac and cheese with baked tomato

When I was a kid, I thumbed my nose at mac and cheese.  In hindsight, I have no idea why since my mom always made it from scratch.  Thankfully, I am not of the Kraft Cheese and Macaroni generation.  If I had been, I suspect all that glassy looking “cheeze” would have dissuaded me from ever giving mac and cheese a second chance.  And I admit only doing that after my mom ditched her original recipe and started making this one.  It’s still a really traditional mac/cheese – I’m not swayed by designer versions with cauliflower or bacon or other sophisticated ingredients.  It’s mac/cheese, after all: diner food, comfort food, whatever you want to call it.  But the recipe does add one non-traditional topping – sliced tomatoes.  You add them after you’ve assembled your cheese sauce and pasta, then top them with another layer of shredded cheese.  They are decidedly unsophisticated, but add a layer of flavor that elevates it a notch the original.  Sort of like upgrading from coach to business class.  Not exactly first class seating, but noticeably roomier.

Cheesy Mac and Cheese w/baked Tomato

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz uncooked elbows or pasta of your choice (I like rigatoni)
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 2 1/2 c milk
  • 2 1/2 c cheddar, shredded (I like a monterey/jack or cheddar/jack mix), reserve 1/2 c for top
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • Whole tomato, sliced
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella

Preparation:

  • Prepare noodles according to package directions and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt butter and blend in flour, stirring constantly.  Stir in milk until thickened.  DO NOT BOIL.
  • Remove from heat and add 2 cups cheddar (or whatever mixture you choose), Worcestershire, salt and pepper.  Mix well and pour over cooked macaroni.
  • Add layer of tomato slices to top and cover with remaining shredded cheese.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (I usually put it under the broiler for a few minutes after baking to brown the cheese on top. The crispy cheese is the best).

Enjoy!

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