Photo: Jim Norton
Try this updated twist on classic mac and cheese with the welcome addition of juicy tomatoes.
1 500 g pkg macaroni pasta, or ziti pasta
5 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp chopped thyme, or 1 tbsp dried thyme, divided
3 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for dish
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups 3.25% milk
1 cup grated mild white cheddar
2 cups grated old white cheddar, plus 1/2 cup reserved for topping
1 796 mL can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter a 9 x 13 in (3 L) casserole dish, and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente. Transfer to a colander, rinse under cold water, and drain well.
To make topping, tear bread into pieces and pulse in a food processor to form large crumbs. Transfer to a bowl with melted butter, Parmesan and half the thyme. Toss to coat and set aside.
Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until bubbly but not brown, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk. Bring to a simmer and continue to stir with a wooden spoon until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add cheese, stirring until completely melted and sauce is smooth, 1–2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes (with juices), remaining thyme, salt and pepper. Add reserved pasta to pot and stir to combine. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the reserved cheese, then the bread crumb mixture.
Bake until sauce is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden, 25–30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Calories 660, Protein 28g, Carbohydrates 68g, Fat 31g.
Originally published in the November 2011 issue. Photo by Jim Norton.
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