Macaroni and cheese with tomatoes and bacon

macaroni cheese tomatoes baconMy ultimate comfort food is mac ‘n’ cheese, but I also like to jazz it up – as in this recipe for macaroni and cheese with tomatoes and bacon.

roasted cherry tomatoesI roast cherry tomatoes in the oven and then add them to the macaroni and cheese with bacon. I grow thyme in the summer in the garden but if I don’t have fresh thyme I sprinkle the tomatoes with dried Herbes de Provence herbs before placing them in the oven.

bacon saute panInstead of bacon lardons, in Britain I sometimes use chopped traditional back bacon. In the US I dice thick slices of bacon. Whatever I use, I make sure I drain them well after frying them.

A nice change is to use a mixture of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese instead of just cheddar to add to the Béchamel sauce. I find this gives a lovely flavor when I’m making macaroni and cheese for the kids.

mac cheese baconI think it’s worthwhile making extra cheese sauce so I can be sure I have the right amount when I mix it in with the boiled pasta.

I have noted in the recipe that it’s optional to use breadcrumbs or grated Parmesan on top of the mac and cheese with roasted tomatoes and bacon before placing the dish under the grill. My kids prefer the breadcrumbs and I tend to use Parmesan if I’m serving the dish to friends.

Macaroni and cheese with bacon and tomatoes

Serves 4-6
Meal Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly
Best meal for cold days is macaroni and cheese with bacon and tomatoes. The roasted tomatoes and bacon turn a simple mac 'n' cheese into a perfect dinner.

Ingredients

  • coarse sea salt (for seasoning)
  • pepper (for seasoning)
  • 2 cups elbow /macaroni (roughly 300 g)
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (handful to sprinkle over top)
  • 7oz bacon (200 g - bacon lardons or chopped thick slices bacon)
  • bunch fresh thyme (or 2 tsps dried Herbes de Provence)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (appx 130 g)
  • drizzle olive oil (for roasting the tomatoes)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (half a stick / 60 g)
  • 4 heaped tablespoons all purpose / plain flour
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (Or you can use dried mustard powder)
  • 2 1/2 cups Milk (600 ml)
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar ((160 g) or double this if you only want to use cheddar.)
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (160 g)

Optional

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (*Optional* to use instead of breadcrumbs)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C)
Slice cherry tomatoes in half. Spread in single layer on a baking sheet with a mixture skin side up and down. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over fresh thyme leaves ( I have used 1 to 2 tsps dried Herbes de Provence instead in this recipe.)
Roast the cherry tomatoes in the over for 20 minutes. Note: take them out as soon as they are slightly charred. Remove from oven and set aside.
Bring water to a boil over a high heat. Add a pinch of coarse sea salt. Cook the macaroni until al dente or slightly tender. Drain and set aside.
Heat a sauce pan over medium heat and fry chopped up bacon. Drain the bacon on paper towels.
In a saucepan, heat the butter until melted over medium heat. Add the flour and the mustard, stirring constantly. Pour in the milk in a steady stream, whisking continuously, until thickened and very smooth. Season with a pinch of salt. Remove the bechamel sauce from the heat and add the shredded cheese and stir until melted.
First mix well together the macaroni, cheese sauce and bacon in a bowl. Then lightly mix in the roasted cherry tomatoes.
Transfer into a baking dish /oven dish. Sprinkle the top with a thin layer of breadcrumbs. (Instead of breadcrumbs you can grate over Parmesan cheese).
Grill/broil the top of the macaroni and cheese with tomatoes and bacon for 10 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot.

Why do I love this recipe? Macaroni and cheese with tomatoes and bacon is a great family meal but also a slightly fancier way to serve mac ‘n’ cheese when you have friends over for dinner on a cold winter’s day.

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  1. ooh i have to try this! gorgeous!

  2. Love macaroni cheese – we sometimes put roasted butternut squash in ours.

  3. Fab post on one of my favourite dinners. It’s the only meal my dad can cook and this brought back great memories. He also used bacon and tomato. To finish it off, he used to place it in the grill pan and let it go all crispy on top. It was rather yummy, #pocolo

  4. This is one of my favourite dishes – rarely looks as pretty as yours tho! #PoCoLo

  5. That looks delicious! Would love to try this out with some grilled chicken too :) #PoCoLo

  6. That does look yummy, I’ve not had mac and cheese for a long time, really fancy some now. #pocolo

  7. Yum! I do love macaroni cheese, I always put boiled eggs in mine now – sounds strange but it’s delicious!

  8. That looks (and sounds) good! Although as a veggie I’d have to leave the bacon out!

  9. Sounds delicious! Macaroni pie is traditional West Indian fare, and I like the sound of adding tomatoes and bacon to make it a meal on its own rather than just a side dish! #pocolo

  10. That looks and sounds so delicious, I’ll have to get my dairy free thinking cap on for something similar! :)

  11. Mac&Cheese is one of my all time, favourite comfort foods :) I like adding to it too! #PoCoLo

  12. This looks absolutely and utterly SCRUM! Perfect winter food – macaroni cheese can get a bit boring so I love how you’ve pepped it up. Thanks for linking to PoCoLo x

  13. Can’t beat mac ‘n’ cheese when the weather turns colder. Will be testing this out very soon – thanks.

  14. This looks absolutley amazing…and great comfort food too!

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