Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

We’re finally easing into that part of summer where tomatoes are ripe and sweet and plentiful. Which to me is a blank check for cooking. In the winter, you’re lucky to find a good tomato at all – which makes me stingy with them.

And when you put the pressure of knowing how they’re grown into the equation – well, let’s just say that it’s rare for me to cook with them from November through May.

But now it’s late summer! There’s tomatoes aplenty, and it’s time to play.

So on a recent overcast and delightfully chilly day, I decided to use the bounty of August to create a fall comfort food – macaroni and cheese.

The creamy cheddar sauce was filled with fresh herbs and the whole thing was topped with summer tomatoes and crunchy panko.

Hello, Tomato Season. It’s nice to see you. (Also, don’t forget you can freeze tomatoes too!)

Tomato Macaroni and Cheese
Yield: 8 servings

Tomato and Herb Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Passive Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

The creamy cheddar sauce of this macaroni and cheese dish is filled with fresh herbs and the whole thing is topped with summer tomatoes and crunchy panko.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of elbow macaroni, 12 oz.
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 bag extra sharp cheddar cheese, 8 oz.
  • 3/4 cup shredded parmesan, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Cook until just al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Drain and reserve.
  3. While the pasta cooks, saute the onion in butter over medium heat in a small saucepan until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cream, and stir constantly until hot but not boiling. Add the cheddar one handful at a time and stir well. When the cheese has melted add another handful, and continue until all of the cheddar is gone. Add ½ cup parmesan, and stir well until melted. Add the mustard and herbs and stir well.
  4. Spoon the pasta into a casserole dish, and pour the cheese sauce over it. Top with tomatoes, panko, and the reserved parmesan. Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

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Launie Kettler is a food writer/photographer who lives in a “suburb" of Burlington, VT. She cooks big food in a small kitchen, and her husband and cats are tolerant of the fact that she plays the same Wilco and Son Volt albums over and over while pontificating about the beauty of cumin. Her food blog, Teeny Tiny Kitchen, was featured on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, and her writing has been linked to by CNN and the L.A. Times. Launie has also had her recipes featured on Punk Domestics, Cheese Culture Magazine, Athens Foods and Salon. Check out Teeny Tiny Kitchen for more recipes and photos or follow Launie on Twitter @Teenytinykitchn

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