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Bursting Tomato Macaroni and Cheese with Basil Pesto

Baked with juicy bursting cherry tomatoes and swirled with fresh basil pesto, this bursting tomato macaroni and cheese is exploding with fresh flavors and impossible to only have one bowl of!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 434kcal

Ingredients

Bursting Tomatoes

  • 1 pt cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Basil Pesto

  • 1 cup firmly-packed basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-3/4 cups 2% or skim milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 lb campanelle pasta (or your choice of shape) cooked according to package instructions until al dente.
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, optional

Instructions

Bursting Tomatoes

  • Preheat oven to 400F. In a 9x13 baking dish, toss tomatoes and garlic with olive oil until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Roast tomatoes at 400F 20-25 minutes until tomatoes are softened and bursting. Finely chop roasted garlic and toss with tomatoes. Set aside.

Basil Pesto

  • In a blender or food processor, combine basil, nuts, garlic, and Parmesan. With machine running, drizzle olive oil through top, pulsing several times until pesto is smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Season pesto with salt and pepper to taste and store in fridge until ready to use.

Macaroni and Cheese

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour until smooth and let cook 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Slowly drizzle in milk and cream, whisking constantly until smooth and incorporated.
  • Cook sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sauce is bubbly and thickened. Remove from heat and add cheeses, whisking until melted. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste and add cayenne if using.
  • Add cooked pasta and sauce to cherry tomatoes in baking pan. Stir until evenly coated. Top with breadcrumbs if using.
  • Bake macaroni and cheese at 400F 15-20 minutes until bubbly and top is browned. Drizzle pesto sauce over top. Serve macaroni hot and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 8oz | Calories: 434kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.8g | Protein: 13.9g | Fat: 34.8g | Saturated Fat: 13.7g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 260mg | Potassium: 306mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 5.4g | Calcium: 346mg | Iron: 1mg