Friday, October 28, 2011

Italian Macaroni and Cheese

Last week I was sitting on my couch debating what to do for dinner. I wanted the following things: roasted tomatoes, Kraft macaroni and cheese, or pasta with tons of parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil. I couldn't decide. I wanted all of them at once. And yet, that sounded disgusting... so I decided to figure out a way to combine all of my desired into one dish. Enter this Italian macaroni and cheese.

This was one of those meals where you throw it in the oven and think, "This is either going to be amazing... or we're ordering a pizza." I was really opposed to the heaviness of traditional macaroni and cheese that night so I kept it light. I was so beyond pleased. John and I both loved this and I even loved the leftovers the next day. I can see this being a meal I make for my family over and over again as the years go on. It's just so tasty! It has Italian flavors, resembles mac and cheese, yet isn't heavy. I could see kids absolutely loving this meal.

Source: Stephanie Cooks Original

1 large tomato
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

6 ounces small pasta (I used tiny shells meant for soup)
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup half and half
1 1/2-2 cups shredded pecorino romano cheese (not grated)
1/4 cup basil leaves, minced
1/4 cup panko
1/8 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tbsp. butter

1- Preheat the oven to 375. Slice the tomato into thin slices and top with the balsamic. Season with salt and pepper. Place in an oven safe dish (large enough to hold the mac and cheese) and bake for 20 minutes. When done remove from the oven and set aside.
2- Meanwhile, in a saucepan heat the oil and garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant add the flour to form a paste. Stir in the stock and half and half, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper.
3- At this point bring cook the pasta according to packaging directions. When it's done, set aside.
4- Stir the pecorino romano cheese into the sauce mix and add the basil. Leave heating over low heat.
5- Once the pasta is done pour it into the sauce, tossing to coat.
6- Using a knife cut the cooked tomatoes into small pieces (they'll be more or less falling apart at this point and very tender). Add the macaroni to the tomato pan, stirring well. Set aside.
7- In a bowl melt the butter. Stir in the panko and the breadcrumbs. Top the macaroni with the breading mixture. Bake 25 minutes, covered. If you want, turn the broiler on to make the breading golden at the end.
8- Serve hot.


  1. I LOVE it when I make stuff up and it actually works! Good job : )

  2. That looks great thanks for the post.