Recipe by Mary Pols

Retro Mac & Cheese with Stewed Tomatoes

Retro Mac & Cheese with Stewed Tomatoes

Serves 2-4

The author prefers elbow-shaped pasta for this recipe because they cook up fast and sit well on a spoon. Vary the amount of milk and cheese in the sauce to suit your preferences and be adventurous with your mix of cheeses.

Salt

12 ounces dry pasta

3 ½ tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 ½ to 2 cups milk

Pepper

1 to 2 cups grated or crumbled cheese

1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350°.


Place a large, covered pot of salted water over high heat. When the water boils, add the pasta, removing it a minute before you think it will be al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer it to an ovenproof bowl.


In a second, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. over on medium-low heat. Whisk the flour. Cook the roux for 3 minutes, whisking all the while. When it is golden brown and has thoroughly bubbled up across the surface of the pan, start adding milk, slowly, so you don’t shock the roux.


Keep whisking every minute or so to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn. The béchamel is done when it has thickened enough to coat a spoon. Season it with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cheese to the bowl and then the béchamel. Stir it all a few times. Tent loosely with foil and cook for 25 minutes, then increase the temperature to 375°, remove the foil, and cook for another 10 minutes or so until it gets golden brown on top.


Meanwhile, open the can of whole tomatoes and pour them into a small saucepan. Warm them gently until the mac and cheese is baked.


Serve pasta and tomatoes together in warm bowls.

From Issue

No. 16 / Spring 2021

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