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Creamy Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

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You know how when you dip a grilled cheese sandwich into a warm bowl of tomato soup, it somehow makes both things taste even better? That’s because they’re meant to be together! This creamy dish takes that timeless duo and combines it with the cheesy, gooey comfort that is mac and cheese. Nothing warms the soul like macaroni and cheese, and this version doesn’t disappoint in that department. It tastes like home.

We make ours with extra-sharp cheddar because that extra cheesy tang and flavor doesn’t get lost in the sauce and it stands up well to the tomatoes. Make sure when you boil your noodles, you cook them for a few minutes less than the instructions say to. They’ll cook a bit more when you cook down the tomatoes and also when the dish bakes, and you don’t want to end up with mushy noodles.

Everybody in our family loves this and goes back for seconds. We love to make it on a gray, rainy day; the kind where you just want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and a good book. It just doesn’t get cozier than this dish. It’ll warm you up from your head to your toes!

Tomato Mac and Cheese

45 minutes to prepare serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups whole milk, heated
  • 1 (14 oz. can) crushed tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
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Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 3-quart casserole dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add macaroni. Cook 2-3 minutes less than package instructions; drain and return to pot.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in flour and cook 2-3 minutes, until starting to turn golden.
  4. Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously until sauce thickens. Stir in cayenne, salt, and pepper.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of the cheese until smooth.
  6. Meanwhile, add canned tomatoes to pot of noodles and cook over medium heat until some of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add cheese sauce to noodles, stir to combine.
  8. Pour mixture into greased casserole dish and top with remaining grated cheese and breadcrumbs.
  9. Bake uncovered until top is browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Adapted from Food.com.

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