One thing that I have always loved is/are tinned tomatoes. I could quite happily just sit down with a tin of tomatoes and a slice of bread and butter. A smattering of salt and pepper and I am feasting. I find it very satisfying . . .
When I was a child it was a real treat for my mother to make us Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner . . . we loved it. Often she would stir a tin of tomatoes into it and that was even better. Through the years I have always done the same. In fact I cannot remember the last time I ate KD without them . . . mind you I don't eat KD at all over here, because it just doesn't exist.
I love macaroni and cheese. It's a real favourite of mine, not so much the Toddsters . . . but you know. I do try to please him most of the time. Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes?? It's even better. Well . . . I think it is anyways. I love this dish. It's easy to make. It's delicious. It's economical. You can make it ahead. Most people like it. That spells winner to me.
It wasn't that easy to get a tasty looking photograph of this delicious casserole. But don't let these photos put you off in any way from making it. This is definitely a "Do not judge a book by it's cover" kind of dish. It's a delicious casserole that both children and grown ups will love. Put it this way . . . my hubster, a dedicated "pasta hating" individual conceded that it certainly smelled delicious and proceeded to eat two plates full. Need I say more???
I thought not.
*Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes*
Serves 4 to 5
Maybe not the lightest casserole around, but surely one of the tastiest. Pure nostalgia.
1/2 pound of macaroni (8 ounces)
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (400g) tin of chopped plum tomatoes in tomato juice (14 ounces)
3 TBS butter
4 TBS plain flour
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
375ml of semi skimmed milk (1 1/2 cups)
125ml of single cream (1/2 cup)
125ml of chicken broth (1/2 cup)
1/2 pound of mild cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (8 ounces) (2 cups)
1/4 pound of strong cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (4 ounces) (1 cup)
a knob of butter, crushed cracker crumbs
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/gas mark 6. Butter a 9 inch square glass baking dish. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions just until al dente, usually about six minutes. Drain well and return to the pot. Add the tin of tomatoes, stirring to coat. Heat gently over low heat until most of the tomato liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
Melt the 3 TBS of butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir for about a minute. Stir together the milk, cream and chicken stock. Whisk into the flour mixture slowly. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the mixture is thickened, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses to melt. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Pour this sauce over the macaroni and tomato mixture. Stir to combine. Pour into the prepared casserole dish and smooth over. Melt a knob of butter. Stir in some crushed cracker crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over top of the macaroni. Set dish on a baking sheet.
Bake in the heated oven until the top begins to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Note: This can be made ahead. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, cover with tinfoil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for a further 15 minutes, until golden brown.
I think you could make this lighter by leaving out the cream and just using milk to replace the cream. The buttery cracker crumbs on top are not absolutely necessary either. I just rather like the buttery crunch.