Smackin Mac ‘N Cheese

September 19, 2016

So it’s September and I remember that the weather used to be on the coolish side right about now with the tree changing color and all but by the weather gods forecasts, we’ve got some serious heat coming in. That is not going to stop me from making my favorite fall mac n’ cheese casserole that also packs a little heat. No whimpy, milky cheese sauce here; instead a robust roasted cherry tomato and fresh cherry tomato juice sauce stands in for a bold change. And the heat? Diced spicy peperoni does the trick.

Smackin Mac “N Cheese
Serves 6

1 pound curly elbow or other short cut pasta
2 cups roasted cherry tomatoes
2 cups fresh cherry tomato juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup diced spicy pepperoni
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Boil the pasta in salted water and cook until very al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain and place in large bowl. Set aside.

Toss 4 cups whole cherry tomatoes in 2 tablespoons olive oil and roast them on baking sheet at 350F until shriveled. Add tomatoes to the pasta.

Puree 4 cups whole cherry tomatoes until smooth; fold into pasta and roasted tomatoes; stir in salt, pepper and diced peperoni. Stir in 1 ½ cups of the cheese. Transfer to a casserole dish and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.

Cover casserole and bake at 350F for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 5 minutes longer. Serve hot.

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