Roasted Tomato Mac & Cheese – The Parmesan roasted tomatoes on top of this mac and cheese help balance out the rich cheese sauce to make this the mac and cheese you didn’t know you needed
Cooler weather is starting to pop up, which means it’s time to bust out those comfort recipes. Bring on the soups, casseroles, and slow cooker recipes!
My first comfort recipe of the season is for an adult version of mac and cheese. I call it an “adult version” because it’s not just pasta and cheese, like you probably enjoyed as a kid. But to be perfectly honest, my kids loved this mac and cheese just as much as my husband did!
For this mac and cheese, I’ve topped it with roasted tomatoes to help balance out the richness of the cheese and pasta. Because the tomatoes are roasted, they have a similar flavor you would find in a tomato soup. And we all know how incredible cheese and tomato soup go together.
But before we talk about how to make this mac and cheese, let’s gawk at it some more, huh?
Roasting the tomatoes
The first step in this process is roasting the tomatoes. Roma tomatoes are sliced and placed on a baking sheet lined with foil. They are sprinkled with a little salt and broiled until they start to char. Remove from the oven and set aside until after the mac and cheese is made.
Making the mac and cheese
This mac and cheese is made on the stovetop and then finished in the oven. To achieve that creamy cheese sauce, we start by making a roux of garlic, butter, and flour. Then, we slowly whisk in milk and allow it to thicken. The cheeses are then whisked in a little at a time to melt it slowly. This ensures the texture is not gritty. Finally, the sauce is added to cooked pasta and seasoned with a little salt and pepper.
The mac and cheese is added to a greased casserole dish and then topped with the roasted tomatoes. The tomatoes are topped with Parmesan cheese and then the mac and cheese is placed under the broiler again to melt the Parmesan and char the tomatoes a little more.
Now, your mac and cheese is ready to dive into!
Tips & Tricks
- The key to perfect pasta is cooking it just until al dente. This ensures that it doesn’t get mushy.
- Do not slice the tomatoes too thin or else they will burn when you broil them.
- I highly recommend you shred the cheese fresh yourself. The pre-shredded cheese that you buy in a bag comes with other additives that keep it from melting perfectly.
Roasted Tomato Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound dry pasta small (macaroni, penne, ziti, etc)
- 5 Roma tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3½ cups whole milk
- ½ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper (or more to taste)
- 6 ounces cheddar cheese shredded
- 4 ounces monterey jack cheese shredded
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese divided
- Boil pasta in a pot of salted water according to box directions until it is right at al dente! Set aside.
- Prepare a large casserole dish by greasing it with cooking spray or butter. Set aside. Grab a broil-safe pan and cover with foil. Spray with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to broil.
- Slice tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices. Place on prepared boil-safe pan in one even layer. Sprinkle with a little salt. Place in oven and broil until they just begin to char, about 10 minutes. Remove and turn broiler off.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and whisk for 2 minutes. It should turn into a paste.
- Reduce heat to medium low and gradually add the milk about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking between each addition. Once all the milk is added, increase heat to medium so that the sauce begins to boil and thicken.
- Keep whisking sauce until it has thickened to almost the texture of a gravy. Add salt and pepper. Taste it to make sure it tastes right. Add more seasoning if needed. Once thickened, reduce heat to low. Add 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and whisk into the sauce. Add the 1/3 of the shredded cheese and stir. Whisk until all the cheese has melted. Add another 1/3 of the cheese and whisk until melted. Add final 1/3 of cheese and whisk together. Once all the cheese is melted, remove from heat. Give it a taste to make sure you have enough seasoning.
- Preheat broiler again. Add pasta to casserole dish and top with cheese sauce. Stir together to combine. Top with broiled tomatoes into one even layer. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Place in preheated oven to melt the Parmesan cheese and broil the tomatoes a little more, about 6 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let it cool for a couple minutes before serving.