Following my mother's lead I have found this to be probably the best of the basic macaroni and cheese recipes. The addition of canned whole tomatoes - broken down with their juices, gives this recipe depth of flavor. Ingredients are simple and when you get pasta and cheese on sale you have a winner, winner pasta dinner for your family. Serve this up with a vegetable or salad side dish and perhaps if budget allows some pan fried kielbasa or some other sausage - it's a complete meal. Of course mac and cheese is a meal all by itself, but let's try and at least throw in something healthier on the side.
- 1 lb. box of pasta (I use mini penne or regular penne) Use whatever pasta you like or have on hand.
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 - 1 1/2 bars sharp cheddar cheese sliced
- canned whole tomatoes
- cooking spray
- Cook the pasta according to manufacturer's directions - el dente.
- In an oven proof casserole sprayed with cooking spray, layer in some of the tomato juice liquid, some of the pasta, break down some of the whole tomatoes and layer in. Then top with some of the slices of cheddar cheese (don't be stingy) and pour in some of the bechemel. Continue until your casserole dish is full.
- Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven, covered for 1 1/4 hours. Remove the top and continue to cook until the casserole is bubbling, the cheese is melted and the top a nice golden brown.
Creamy, cheesy and the tomatoes give it such wonderful flavor bite after bite.