Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Macaroni, Cheese and Tomato Bake



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 There is one ingredient that I am never without in my store cupboard and that is tinned tomatoes.  I just adore tinned tomatoes.  They are an ingredient that I use often in my recipes and I confess . . .  on a hot summer's day nothing is nicer than to sit down to a bowl of chilled tinned tomatoes and a slice of bread and butter!  Nirvana!  To me this is bliss.  Tomatoes  picked right at their peak of freshness and then preserved for us to use at will.  This is one ingredient you will never find lacking in my kitchen, end of . . .


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I was recently sent some  Tarantella Organic Tomato products to use in my cooking and I was just thrilled, especially as I use tomato products often in my cooking.   I had purchased a tin of these tomatoes just recently while they were on special at the shops, but had resisted buying more because they were not a tomato brand that I had ever really used before.   After having used them, and learning more about them, I now wish I had stocked up.

The Tarantella brand demonstrates real Italian passion for food and takes pride in bringing you the best tasting tinned tomatoes, passata and paste. Tarantella tomatoes are raised by Mother Nature with help from the rich Italian soil and hot Mediterranean sun and harvested at their optimum so that they are ripe and juice, which is why they taste so delicious.

Tarantella's tomato range is recognised for its characteristic rich, thick, high brix tomato juice; a great base for Italian inspired recipes including soups and sauces.

Canned tomatoes, passata and paste: 
Organic Passata
 Organic Tomato Paste
Organic Chopped Tomatoes
Organic Peeled Plum Tomatoes

Tarantella canned tomato products have been around since 1892.  Authentically Italian, they are
sourced from the heart of Italy,  naturally produced with no additives or fertilisers and no pesticides.  They are also GM free

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I used the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree/paste to make my delicious Macaroni, Cheese and Tomato Bake which is a real favourite in this house.  You start by making a delicious tomato sauce which is combined with cooked macaroni . . .  a very simple sauce using minced onions, tomatoes, basil, tomato puree and seasoning.

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This gets poured into the bottom of a buttered baking dish . . .

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A rich cheese sauce is then poured over top . . .  homemade of course . . .  and the whole thing is then baked until it is bubbling and golden brown.  I like to add a crushed cracker crumb topping.


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I always think casseroles such as this just beg to be topped with something crunchy . . . but that is just me.  It's not really necessary.  In any case this was the perfect casserole in which to showcase those lovely Tarantella Organic tomatoes!

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*Macaroni Cheese and Tomato Bake*
Serves 4
A delicious macaroni casserole with a fabulous tomato sauce and topped with a rich cheese sauce before baking.  Can you say moreish?


225g dried macaroni (1/2 pound, 8 ounces)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 TBS olive oil
800g tinned tomatoes, drained (2 14 ounce tins)
4 tsp tomato puree (tomato paste
2 TBS freeze dried basil flakes
75g of butter (1/3 cup)
50g plain flour (1/3 cup)
1 tsp dry mustard powder
425ml of milk (about 14 1/2 fluid ounces) warmed
225g of strong cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
salt and pepper to taste
a handful of cracker crumbs   


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Heat the oil and add the onion.  Cook gently until softened.  Add the drained tomatoes and the tomato puree.  Cook together for a few minutes.  Stir in the basil and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.   Season to taste with some salt and pepper.   Set aside.   

To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan.   Whisk in the flour and mustard powder.   Cook, whisking for at least one minute, and then slowly whisk in the warm milk.  Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil, making sure it doesn't catch on the bottom.  Whisk in 175g (1 1/2 cups) of the cheese, stirring until it melts.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Cook the macaroni until al dente according to the package directions.  Drain well.   Stir the cooked macaroni into the tomato mixture.  Pour into a large baking dish and smooth over.  Pour the cheese sauce evenly over top.  Sprinkle evenly with the remaining cheese.  Sprinkle on a handful of cracker crumbs.


Bake in the heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Enjoy!

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We have also enjoyed a delicious margherita style pizza which I used the passata to make the sauce.  You can find that recipe here.

I confess it's really good. I think that the sauce makes the pizza, don't you?

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Tarantella is now sold nationally through a network of wholesalers, supermarkets and online stockists.

A bit of trivia: 
Tarantella Peeled Plum Tomatoes were favoured by Miners in the Midlands, post Second World War, as a drink that would help hydrate them and coat the backs of their throats to stop them getting dry and dusty gullets. The miners would drink the premium brix juice before eating the tomatoes; a true testament to the high quality.

Many Thanks to Tarantella for sending me these tomato products to try out.  We really have enjoyed them and they are a product I will now actively seek out and buy for use in my home kitchen. 

Note:  Although I was provided with the tomatoes free of charge, I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are quite simply my own.

8 comments:

  1. Love how you use tomato in this recipe ! Look delicious!:)

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  2. Thanks very much Gloria! They are really good tomatoes! xo

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  3. We grew up with macaroni and cheese done this way minus the tomato. I love the addition of the tomatoes in this recipe and think it would be a big hit in my house. Oh, I just discovered you blog last week and I LOVE it!

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    1. Oh, I love macaroni and cheese with tomatoes Julia, but I am a tomato nut! I am glad you are enjoying the blog! You made my day! xoxo

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  4. Hayırlı haftalar, domatesli, peynirli makarnanız çok güzel ve leziz görünüyor. Ellerinize sağlık.

    Saygılar.

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    1. Çok teşekkür ederim! İyi günler! xoxo

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  5. Love thses types of dishes..will try your mac one day!
    What a nice gift.

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    1. They are really nice tomatoes Monique! xoxo

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