Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Sausage and Tomato
This isn’t the first time I’ve made baked macaroni and cheese when I was in need of a little comfort food, and it definitely won’t be the last. Who can resist the classic combination of noodles and cheese, baked until bubbly and smelling like heaven? Not me.
My favorite macaroni and cheese is made with a combination of hand-grated cheddar cheese and Gruyere cheese — a hard cheese from Switzerland with a nice nutty flavor. I like to use yellow cheddar because (what can I say?) old habits die hard and I like my macaroni and cheese blue-box yellow.
For this batch I decided to add something new — a couple of crumbled spicy Italian sausages — but keep one of the earliest trademarks of baked macaroni and cheese in my family in the form of fresh, sliced tomatoes on top of the noodles. My great Auntie Anne (also Italian, but more sweet than spicy) always topped her macaroni and cheese with tomatoes when she made it for our annual family picnic, and I like to keep the trend going. I also think it adds a nice little touch of sweetness on top of the salty, cheesy noodles.
Baked macaroni and cheese is easy to make. Shred your cheese, cook your pasta al dente, then make the sauce. Warmed milk is added to a roux made from butter and flour, the cheese is added, then the whole mess is flavored with salt, pepper, and a few pinches of nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Stir in your cooked macaroni and any meat, then transfer the mixture to a buttered casserole dish and top with tomato slices or your choice of buttery bread or crumb topping.
Twenty minutes later — baked macaroni and cheese perfection!
Note – When making this recipe today I made one “large” dish and two smaller dishes. The larger dish is pictured here, so be aware you’ll end with more than the photo shows.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Sausage and Tomato Recipe Links
Want more macaroni and cheese? Read my previous thoughts on Classic Macaroni and Cheese, including how it came to America.
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