Macaroni, Cheese and Tomato Bake

Monday 22 September 2014

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Interestingly enough the food here in the UK isn't all fish and chips and roast beef or curries.  They're also very fond of macaroni here, and other pasta's too.  In fact it is said that at the beginning of the 19th century they used to call their dandies "macaronis" because the  wigs which they wore were said to resemble macaroni!

 There is a saying over here which goes . . . "There's naught so queer as folk."  I believe that would apply in this instance!

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I am quite fond of macaroni along with other pastas.  I would even go so far as to say I love most of them.  I especially love macaroni when combined with cheese . . .  or when combined with tomatoes . . .  so when I saw this macaroni dish in The Complete Traditional Recipe Book by Sarah Edington and published by the National Trust . . .  I just had to make it!

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You make a delicious tomato sauce which is combined with cooked macaroni . . .  a very simple sauce using minced onions, tomatoes, basil, tomato puree and seasoning.  You pour that into the bottom of a buttered baking dish . . .

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A rich cheese sauce is then poured over top . . .  homemade of course . . .  and the whole thing is then baked until it is bubbling and golden brown.

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I added some crumbled ritz crackers on top because I had a few left in the bottom of a box and I always think casseroles such as this just beg to be topped with something crunchy . . . in other words I can't leave well enough alone.

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I always have to put my two cents worth into a dish . . .  or in this case . . .  crackers.  This was really, really good.   Even the leftovers.  Simple ingredients, well executed and put together deliciously.

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*Macaroni Cheese and Tomato Bake*
Serves 4

Apparently the British have always had an affection for Macaroni!  Who knew??  It is said that back in the early 1800's the "dandies" over here were called "macaronies" because they wore wigs with white curls that were supposed to resemble macaroni!   

225g dried macaroni (1/2 pound, 8 ounces)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 TBS olive oil
800g tinned tomatoes, drained (2 14 ounce tins)
4 tsp tomato puree (tomato paste
2 TBS freeze dried basil flakes
75g of butter (1/3 cup)
50g plain flour (1/3 cup)
1 tsp dry mustard powder
425ml of milk (about 14 1/2 fluid ounces) warmed
225g of strong cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
salt and pepper to taste
a handful of cracker crumbs  

Heat the oil and add the onion.  Cook gently until softened.  Add the drained tomatoes and the tomato puree.  Cook together for a few minutes.  Stir in the basil and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.   Season to taste with some salt and pepper.   Set aside.    

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To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan.   Whisk in the flour and mustard powder.   Cook, whisking for at least one minute, and then slowly whisk in the warm milk.  Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil, making sure it doesn't catch on the bottom.  Whisk in 175g (1 1/2 cups) of the cheese, stirring until it melts.  Set aside. 

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Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Cook the macaroni until al dente according to the package directions.  Drain well.   Stir the cooked macaroni into the tomato mixture.  Pour into a large baking dish and smooth over.  Pour the cheese sauce evenly over top.  Sprinkle evenly with the remaining cheese.  Sprinkle on a handful of cracker crumbs. 

Bake in the heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.


  1. Aww look delicious Marie! Dito love macaronis!

  2. It was really delicious Gloria, and even the leftovers were delicious. Simple to make as well. I had pretty much everything in my cupboard and fridge. This is going to become a go-to recipe for sure! xoxo

  3. My mom made our mac and cheese very similarly Marie:)

  4. Oh boy, you were really lucky Monique! My mom never made mac and cheese. If we got it at all it came from a box!

  5. My tomatoes are ripening faster than I can use them....this looks like a perfect way to combine my excess of tomatoes and lack of planning for dinner tonight.

    My husband loves, loves, loves macaroni and tomatoes...he's going to love this!

    Thanks Marie, once again for sharing your love of good food with us.

  6. This is the perfect dish to use them in Darlene! I am glad that I could be of help! I hope you enjoy it! xx

  7. Thanks for letting me know what to make for dinner tomorrow night! I have all the ingredients ready to go. Yummy! Thanks! xoxo

    PS. I owe you and email Marie. I have since signed up on Pinterest since they wouldn't let me lurk any more without actually signing up. So I did the other day. Still trying to figure out how it all works.

  8. I'll help you to figure it out in whatever way I can Valerie! It's very easy to pick up! I hope you enjoy this dish! I loved it myself! xxoo


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