Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

The trifecta of cheese blends!

I have worked for years on this Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes recipe. It’s the trifecta of cheese blends; Gruyere and sharp white cheddar blended, then topped with parmesan cheese. The Cavatappi pasta and tomatoes give the dish a visual pop.

Ways to Make Cheesy Noodles

Growing up the only thing I knew about Cheesy Noodles came out of a box or was served in the lunch line at school. Neither of which was ever very appealing to me. However, when I was in my early 20s I lived in Fulda, Germany, and discovered well-made baked macaroni and cheese.

I chose the Cavatappi pasta for its size and surface area. When compared to Elbow macaroni the rigged outside gives more area for the cheese to cover and, like macaroni it has a hollow center to fill with cheese. Plus it gives a great look in the pan and on the plate.

I have tried several ways of bringing tomatoes into this recipe without much success. The tomato juice turns the sauce pink and the rich creamy flavors of the cheese mix overwhelm the flavors of the tomato. Aside from the visual antics, the tomato did nothing for the recipe.

RO-TEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies 10 oz., 8 ct. A1
RO-TEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies 10 oz., 8 ct. A1

Enter Ro*Tel diced tomatoes & green chilies, it brings a whole new dynamic to the dish. I cooked the pasta al dente, undercooked, then I drained the pasta and cooked it for another 5 minutes in the Ro*Tel. The liquid from the can was absorbed into the pasta and gave it a popping flavor of tomato, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime.

Ro*Tel diced tomatoes & green chilies come in 10 different flavors, Original, Serrano, Mild, Hot, Original – No Salt Added, Fire Roasted, Chili Fixin’s, Mexican Style, Chunky, and Chipotle. Pick your flavor and enjoy!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes
Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

Over the years I have tried different combinations of cheese from Gruyere, cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, feta, gouda, and even American cheese. A few common spices are pepper, onion, garlic, and pepper, and I have even seen mustard used.

I never found a use for the spices in this recipe as the cheese sauce almost always covers the other flavors. The only spice used in this recipe is pepper and Ro*Tel diced tomatoes & green chilies.

How to Store Mac & Cheese

To store your Mac & Cheese treat, allow it to cool to room temperature and store in an air-tight container then refrigerate for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

To freeze mac & cheese, place the cooled mac and cheese in a freezer-safe container, stasher bag, or ziplock bag and seal. Label the top of the freezer-safe container and lay them on a cookie tray and place it in the freezer. After it is frozen you can remove the tray and the mac and cheese will stack nicely.

History of RO*TEL

Carl Roettele and his wife open a small canning plant in Elsa, Texas, processing over 25K cases of vegetables a year. The product they’re proudest of is their tomatoes and green chilies. Worried people couldn’t spell or pronounce “Roettele,” Carl used the name RO*TEL. Soon, his zesty tomatoes and chilies graced the tables of public figures and politicians throughout Texas.

Originally, RO*TEL® Tomatoes and Green Chilies were only shipped as far away as San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas. They were the biggest cities closest to the town of Elsa, which is at the bottom tip of the state.

Cans of ROTEL had made their way to Oklahoma and Arkansas by the mid-1950s. The news about ROTEL Tomatoes and Chilies was slowly starting to spread its way around the USA.

The wife of a popular politician in Washington bragged to a national magazine about her chili recipe. She revealed the secret ingredient that made her chili better than anyone else’s. You guessed it: RO*TEL.

History of Macaroni

The International Pasta Organisation traces the word ‘macaroni’ to the Greeks, who established the colony of Neopolis (modern-day Naples) between 2000 and 1000BC and appropriated a local dish made from barley-flour pasta and water called Macaria, possibly named after a Greek goddess.

The Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy

The Metropolitan City of Naples province occupies a total geographical area of 1,171 square kilometers, including the city of Naples itself, the provincial and regional capital of Campania.

The City of Naples, Italy
The City of Naples, Italy

Within the province, there are 92 provincial towns containing a total population of around three million inhabitants.

A Brief History of Naples

Dating back some 4,000 years, Naples is one of the oldest cities in the world. Greek settlers established an early colony here about 2,000 BC, and by the 6th century BC they had erected the ancient city of Neapolis. The distinct Neapolitan culture was born then and survived even after the Romans conquered the area.

Tourism in Naples

With piazzas around every corner, there’s always outdoor seating where you can enjoy an Aperol Spritz (or several) and people watch for hours. Naples is located on the water and walking along the pedestrian-friendly Lungomare, the two-mile seafront promenade teeming with restaurants and attractions, is an activity that many locals enjoy during both balmy summer evenings and crisp winter mornings. Whether it’s high-end shopping, street stalls, or budget fashion you seek, Via Chiaia has something for everyone. There’s even a funicular that takes you up to the top of the city for panoramic views.

Italian Cuisine

Italian cuisine consists of the ingredients, recipes, and cooking techniques developed across the Italian Peninsula since antiquity. Significant changes occurred with the colonization of the Americas and the introduction of potatoes, tomatoes, capsicums, maize, and sugar beets to Europe. It is one of the best-known and most appreciated gastronomies worldwide.

Trattoria da Nennella
Rampe S. Giovanni Maggiore, 1, 80134 Napoli NA, Italy
Telephone: +39 081 552 9103

Osteria La Chitarra - Neapolitan Restaurant
Osteria La Chitarra – Neapolitan Restaurant

Osteria La Chitarra is a place between past and present, a journey that tells the love for Neapolitan cuisine and its traditions. A place made of stories, warmth, friendship, and sharing. A taste experience in a setting made of smells, flavors, and aromas of the magnificent city of Naples.

How to Make This Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes Recipe

To make this recipe you will need 2 medium stock pots, a small saucepan, and a 2-quart baking dish. If you would rather you can use 6 one-cup ramekins. The recipe will make 1½ quarts, however, if you use a 1½ quart baking dish it will probably boil over in the oven.

What You Need to Make Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

Get all of your ingredients ready and laid out before starting as this recipe goes fast. There is no time for grating cheese and measuring things out once you have started.

Ingredients for Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes
Ingredients for Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

Equipment:

  • 1

For the Macaroni:

For the Cheese Sauce

For the Topping:

How to Cook Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

Time needed: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Baking Directions for Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

  1. Preheat the Oven

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Cook the Pasta Al Dente

    Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and macaroni and cook until just al dente, about 6 minutes.

  3. Cook the Pasta in Ro*Tel

    Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Pour diced tomatoes with their juices over pasta and stir to coat. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

  4. Make the Roux

    Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming, and then stir in the flour and cayenne. Cook it until it turns golden, about 1 minute.

  5. Add the Cream

    Slowly whisk in the half-and-half and the chicken broth until smooth. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer. Stir occasionally, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

  6. Add the Cheese

    Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheeses, salt, and pepper until the cheeses are melted. Pour the sauce over macaroni and stir to combine.

  7. Make the Topping

    In a small saucepan melt butter, add the bread crumbs, and stir until thoroughly coated. Remove from the heat and mix with parmesan cheese.

  8. Fill the Baking Dish

    Put the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top of the mixture.

  9. Bake the Dish

    Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and set the baking dish with macaroni on top. Bake until the top begins to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

  10. Cool and Serve

    Let the macaroni and cheese cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

You need to be prepared when you start this recipe because about 10 or 15 minutes in you will have 3 pans going at the same time. Although it does require a little work the rewards are worth the effort.

If you liked this dish please Rate This Recipe and leave a comment.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

Recipe Author | Captain Cook
This Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes recipe is rich, decadent, and the ultimate comfort food. Made with a superior blend of Gruyere, Cheddar, and Cream, and topped with a toasted bread crumb and Parmesan cheese mix.

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 997 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Macaroni:

For the Cheese Sauce:

For the Topping:

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the Macaroni:

  • Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and macaroni and cook until just al dente, about 6 minutes.
    water, 1 tbsp salt, ½ pound cavatappi pasta
  • Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Pour diced tomatoes with their juices over pasta and stir to coat. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
    10 oz Ro*Tel diced tomatoes & green chilies

Mix the Cheese Sauce:

  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming.
    3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Stir in the flour and cayenne and cook it until golden, about 1 minute.
    ¼ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Slowly whisk in the half-and-half and the chicken broth until smooth.
    2 cups half-and-half cream, ½ cup chicken broth
  • Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer. Stir occasionally, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheeses, salt, and pepper until the cheeses are melted. Pour the sauce over macaroni and stir to combine.
    2 cups Gruyere cheese, 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp Italian Bruschetta Seasoning Mix

Mix the Topping:

  • In a small saucepan melt butter, add the bread crumbs, and stir until thoroughly coated.
    1 tbsp unsalted butter, ½ cup bread crumbs
  • Remove from the heat and mix with parmesan cheese.
    ½ cup parmesan cheese

Assemble and Bake the Macaroni:

  • Put the mixture into a 1½ quart baking dish and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top of the mixture.
  • Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and set the baking dish with macaroni on top. Bake until the top begins to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Let the macaroni and cheese cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 997kcalCarbohydrates: 69.5gProtein: 46.2gFat: 60.2gSaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 179mgSodium: 1913mgPotassium: 448mgFiber: 4.5gSugar: 5.8gCalcium: 1195mgIron: 4mg
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Suggested Seasoning Mix For This Recipe

Italian Bruschetta Seasoning Mix
Whip up this flavorful Bruschetta Seasoning Mix with ease and speed, a kitchen essential that's ready in just minutes. Infuse the herby goodness into your beloved pasta dishes, sprinkle it on pizza, or add a flavorful twist to focaccia. With this versatile mix at your disposal, every meal can have that delightful Italian finish.
Check out this recipe
Italian Bruschetta Seasoning Mix

Other Recipes That Go Well With Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

Avocado-Cucumber Salad
In this enticing dish, we bring together the creaminess of ripe avocados and the crunchiness of fresh cucumbers. We then infuse these textures with the tangy zest of lemon and a subtle hint of sweetness from brown sugar. Each ingredient harmoniously combines to create an Avocado-Cucumber Salad that's both refreshing and satisfying.
Check out this recipe
Avocado-Cucumber Salad

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  • By Taste The World Cookbook – Copyright 2022 All rights reserved.
  • By Trattoria da Nennella – By https://www.facebook.com/osterialachitarra/
  • By it:Utente:…Lord_Zarcon – it:Immagine:Napoli_di_sera_di_alessandro_zarcone.jpg modified, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1686610
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  • By ho visto nina volare – Flickr: Napoli 2012, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23782920
  • By This Photo was taken by Wolfgang Moroder.Feel free to use my photos, but please mention me as the author and send me a message.This image is not public domain. Please respect the copyright protection. It may only be used according to the rules mentioned here. This specifically excludes use in social media, if applicable terms of the licenses listed here not appropriate.Please do not upload an updated image here without consultation with the Author. The author would like to make corrections only at his own source. This ensures that the changes are preserved.Please if you think that any changes should be required, please inform the author.Otherwise you can upload a new image with a new name. Please use one of the templates derivative or extract. – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53543269
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Captain Cook
Captain Cookhttps://notallwhowanderarelost.com/
If you strip away the labels and isms and meta tags, what are you left with? Are you strong and free enough as an individual to survive the loss of all those crutches and maintain reason and meaning? Can you use the power of thought and choice to walk the road of life?
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