Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fiery Tomato-Basil Mac and Cheese {Guest Post}

Today, we have a yummy recipe from Meredith K. on behalf of Hunts. I love macaroni and cheese, (and my kids live off the stuff) so this is the perfect easy weekday meal for my family! 



Fiery Tomato-Basil Mac and Cheese

Cooking for the Week: Fiery Tomato-Basil Mac and Cheese

When it comes to weekday cooking, there’s no better timesaver out there than leftovers. Some
nights it’s nice, even therapeutic, to whip up a leisurely meal in the kitchen, but on nights when you’re
ready to curl up on the couch with comfort food and a glass of wine, cooking can feel like a chore
instead of a treat. On nights like that, frozen meals just don’t cut it, which is where yummy leftovers
come into play.

Leftovers can get a bad reputation, but in reality, many casseroles and baked dishes actually improve
over a couple of days since the flavors get a chance to really blend together the longer they sit. They’re
also perfect to have around for busy weeknights or days when you just don’t feel like doing much of
anything in the kitchen. Plus, having a real meal for dinner is usually much more satisfying than any
frozen option, and is also much cheaper than delivery or takeout.

This fiery tomato-basil mac and cheese makes a whopping 16 servings—which is a very good
thing, because you’ll want to eat this dish for days. Mac and cheese is one of those meals like chicken
parmesan or your favorite easy
lasagna recipe
that’s always just so good, no matter how old you are or what kind of day you’d
have; a bowl of creamy mac and cheese makes bad days significantly better and kicks good days up to
great. Make this mac and cheese on a lazy Sunday and keep it in the fridge or freezer for nights when
you’re craving a good, quick meal. Enjoy!

Fiery Tomato-Basil Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 ¼ hours
Serves: 16
  • PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 16 oz package dry elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 2 14.5 oz Hunt’s® Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup packed fresh sweet basil, chopped
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Basil leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 15x10-inch (4 quart) casserole dish with cooking spray (or divide up the mixture between 2 smaller dishes, like an 8x8-inch and a 13x9-inch). Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add undrained tomatoes and basil. Stir to combine and set aside.

For the sauce, melt ½ cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour; continue whisking over medium heat 5-6 minutes or until flour mixture is browned. Add salt; gradually whisk in milk until combined. Constantly whisk sauce 10-12 minutes or until it thickens and starts to simmer.
Remove from heat and add cheddar cheese. Gently mix until completely melted. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni dish and stir to combine. Pour into prepared dish (or dishes).

For the topping, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and 4 tablespoons butter. Spoon evenly over the macaroni mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes or until top is golden brown. Garnish with basil leaves if desired.
Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of Hunt’s®. For other easy, family- friendly dinner recipes, from macaroni to easy meatloaf recipes, visit


Thanks for sharing, Meredith! Be sure to check out for more fantastic recipes like 30-Minute Chili or Baked Ziti Casserole.


  1. Yum, this looks really good! I may add this to my dinner ideas for next week!

  2. Can you ever go wrong with Mac and Cheese? The fire-roasted tomatoes and fresh basil sound like a yummy addition. Thanks for sharing!

    1. No problem; hope you get a chance to try it out!

  3. Adding it to my list! :) Yummy!

  4. Mmm this sounds amazing! You just can't beat a good mac n' cheese recipe. Thanks for sharing!


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