Are you finding this year’s crop of Jersey tomatoes exceptional in flavor? I have been purchasing mine at Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck and they have been terrific. My favorite lunch this summer has been sliced DO English Muffin bread that is lightly toasted, Duke’s Mayonnaise on each slice of bread and 1-2 thinly sliced field tomatoes, yum!
I clipped from the September 2017 issue of Southern Living Magazine, a recipe for roasted tomato macaroni and cheese. What appealed to me in this recipe, other than the roasted tomatoes topped with fresh oregano, was the combination of cheeses, Monterey Jack, Cheddar and fontina. I also like that the tomatoes where cooked twice, once roasted alone, then placed on top of the macaroni and cheese topped with grated Parmesan. The selection of ingredients for this recipe made it a savory dish, with a light tasting cheese sauce.
The recipe has an active time of 20 minutes and a total time of 30 minutes. I started by by slicing and roasting the plum tomatoes first as they take the longest to cook, 18-20 minutes. While that was in the oven, I started the water for the pasta and making the cheese sauce. Unlike the macaroni cheese recipe I usually do, this recipe had you brown the butter until it was a nutty brown color and smell. You also add dry mustard to the white sauce prior to adding the shredded cheeses. Once the sauce was done, I merely had to wait for the tomatoes and pasta to finish. I assembled the Mac n’ Cheese in a lightly buttered casserole dish and carefully placed the roasted tomatoes on top. Grated Parmesan cheese was sprinkled on the tomatoes. A quick bake in a 450 degree oven until the dish bubbled and it was time to eat.
Oh my gosh, it was fabulous. Roasting the tomatoes twice concentrated the flavors and brought out their natural sugars. The oregano added another layer of flavor. My husband and I loved the macaroni and cheese. As I said earlier, the combination of cheese didn’t make it feel heavy. I can’t wait to make this again before tomato season is over. I brought some to my granddaughter the other day for lunch and she devoured it. You could even prepare the dish minus the tomatoes. I might even like to try using chopped sun-dried tomatoes mixed in with the macaroni. This is another great weeknight meal, during the summer and into early fall, or as long as Jersey plum tomatoes are available.
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A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.