Mac & Cheese with Baked Heirloom Tomatoes

It’s rough being married to a food blogger…  Just ask my husband.

Honestly, though, he’s a really good sport when it comes to my food blog.  He is willing to try just about anything I make, and rarely complains about things that don’t work out as planned.  He also puts up with my constant photographing (and the slightly cold food when the photo shoot takes longer than I hoped).  In fact, despite all of the photographing and some of the not-so-great recipes, he actually encourages it!

So, when he requests special recipes, I do my best to accommodate. One recipe that has been on his list is Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Mac & Cheese.  On Saturday mornings, I often watch the Food Network while I clean or work in the kitchen.  One morning, my husband came strolling in as Tyler’s Ultimate was on, and Tyler was making mac & cheese.  He’s been asking for it ever since.

I must admit that this is not the first time I’ve made the dish.  I made it a few weeks ago when we had friends over for dinner, but I didn’t bother to take pictures or blog about it.  Sometimes I just enjoy cooking and don’t bother to get out the camera – especially when we are having friends over.  It went over so well, though, that I decided to make it again.

I’m not going to reprint the recipe, but you can find it over at the Food Network.  I followed the recipe pretty closely (hard to believe, I know).  The main changes that I made were that I left out the parsley (I didn’t have any on hand), and I baked the mac & cheese with the bacon topping instead of adding the topping after baking.

To go with the mac & cheese, I decided to bake some of the beautiful green, pink, and orange heirloom tomatoes from our CSA.  I topped them with a little bit of olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, and some bread crumbs and baked them in the oven with the mac & cheese.  They were a perfect accompaniment for the rich macaroni!

Ultimate Mac & Cheese with Baked Heirloom Tomatoes

(View Tyler Florence’s recipe for Mac ‘N Cheese with Bacon and Cheese)

Start by preparing a box of macaroni, according to the package directions.  I used my favorite Barilla Plus (added protein and fiber are fine with me)!  While the macaroni was cooking, I put together the topping – sauteing bacon, onion, garlic, and thyme in a skillet.

The sauce is made by first heating milk with crushed garlic and sprigs of thyme.  Then, the milk is used to make a basic cheese sauce, starting with a roux, whisking in the milk, and then adding the cheese.  I used sharp white Vermont cheddar. Simply add the cooked macaroni to the sauce, stir to combine, and then transfer to a large baking dish.

As I mentioned before, I added the sauteed bacon topping to the casserole prior to baking because I like the nice crispy crust it makes on the top of the mac & cheese.  After baking for 30 minutes, it was absolutely perfect and golden on top!

For my baked heirloom tomatoes, I simply cut the tomatoes into chunks and arranged them in a small baking dish.  I first drizzled them with olive oil and seasoned them with some Kosher salt and pepper.  Then, I just sprinkled them with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.  I don’t know what the measurements were – this is one of those dishes where measuring really doesn’t matter at all.

I baked the tomatoes for 30 minutes in the oven with the mac & cheese.  If desired, you could garnish with some additional Parmesan cheese and herbs.

20 Responses to Mac & Cheese with Baked Heirloom Tomatoes

  1. Peggy says:

    everything looks amazing! and i bet the tomatoes were great with the richness of the mac and cheese!

  2. Ok, I am liking the sound of this. Need inspiration for the BLT from scratch meal we are hosting next weekend with our… um… 7 heirloom tomatoes and tons of bacon… I am thinking this is perfect and we could have a version for the veggies attending too!!!

    http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com/2009/09/blt-update.html

  3. jenn says:

    Comfort food = Yum!!! You posted this on a perfect day.

    I love watching Tyler’s Ultimate, too. He’s god some awesome recipes.

  4. Memoria says:

    This mac-n-cheese looks divine. I may have to try this out one day. Lovely photos!

  5. Eva Gallant says:

    That looks and sounds yummy!

  6. Miakoda says:

    The picture of the tomatoes with the grated cheese is amazing. Beautiful dish!

  7. this looks heavenly yum

  8. What a great option for a bad day. Comforting and delicious food. yummy.

  9. Mac & cheese looks excellent and I love the sound of those baked heirloom tomatoes, delicious!

  10. zoe says:

    I love the cheese and tomato combo. My boyfriend will be asking for this again and again

  11. Mags says:

    I just knew I shouldn’t have click on your blog. I will now have to make this since I won’t let myself think of anything else until I do. I absolutely love mac and cheese.

  12. Eliana says:

    I’ve never met a mac’n’cheese I didn’t like. This one looks divine. Thanks so much for sharing. Tyler is the man!

  13. I definitely love bacon bits in Mac ‘n Cheese. I know it’s not very healthy, but a few bites here and there wouldn’t be so bad:) Your dish looks great. The baked heirloom tomatoes will add another dimension to the dish. Great work.
    Cheers,
    Tana

  14. Teanna says:

    Oh WOW that IS the ultimate mac and cheese! I’m totally with you on the food blogging thing… my boyfriend loves to joke that he is willing to make the sacrifice of “getting fat” by eating all of the food I make so that I don’t have to eat it myself and then complain about how many calories I am eating. Funny thing is, he doesn’t gain a pound, can eat whatever he likes, and still looks fantastic. Men.

  15. I don’t think I’ve made homemade mac and cheese in YEARS! Looks fabulous. My husband rather likes being married to a food blogger… I think he gets a kick out of the fact that I take pics of everything we eat… not so much about the hours & hours I spend on the computer!

  16. Elizabeth says:

    MMmmm, can’t go wrong with bacon. Gotta love the old dishes from our childhoods, but spruced up to our food blogging standards. I love it!

  17. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    OH man that mac and cheese looks amazing. I love the added bacon…delicious! My boyfriend is great about my food blogging too. Sometimes I get frustrated because I do not feel my blog is successful and want to quit but he keeps pushing me. It’s great to have a good support system:)

  18. Sasha says:

    a. This mac & cheese looks amazing!
    b. Tyler Florence knows his stuff.
    c. Your husband is a lucky man.

    : )

  19. Lauren says:

    Wow, I wish my boyfriend was so open to new recipes. I love macaroni cheese, I have been known to add some weird toppings, red cabbage was strange but surprisingly good, and some better ones, tomato salsa is amazing with creamy cheese.

    Bacon and tomatoes sounds like another great addition! I’ll need to try it next time I feel a mac n cheese night coming on!

  20. Amanda says:

    Fabulous recipes! We like the transition between summer veggies and winter comfort foods. Loved it so much we linked to it on http://facebook.com/WisconsinCheese/

    Amanda

    - Wisconsin Cheese

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