An easy-to-prepare caprese mac and cheese recipe is made entirely in the oven and topped with tomatoes, basil pesto and crispy crumbs.

Recipe Summary

additional:
1 hr 15 mins
total:
1 hr 15 mins
Servings:
10
Yield:
10 cups
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Ingredients

10
Original recipe yields 10 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 13x9-inch or shallow 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Stir together drained tomatoes and pesto in small bowl; set aside. Combine uncooked macaroni, fontina cheese and 1 cup mozzarella cheese in large bowl. Place in dish in an even layer.

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  • Microwave 4 tablespoons butter in large microwave-safe bowl on HIGH 30 seconds or until melted. Whisk in milk, flour, salt and pepper until blended. Pour over macaroni mixture. Spoon tomato mixture evenly over macaroni. Cover dish with aluminum foil; bake 40 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, microwave remaining 2 tablespoons butter in small microwave-safe bowl on HIGH 20 seconds or until melted. Stir in bread crumbs. Top macaroni with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese and bread crumb mixture. Bake uncovered 10 to 15 minutes more or until golden brown on top. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

472 calories; protein 20.7g 41% DV; carbohydrates 50.2g 16% DV; fat 22g 34% DV; cholesterol 58.4mg 20% DV; sodium 799.6mg 32% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (10)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
10/26/2015
I have to say I was fairly skeptical about this method but it turned out absolutely perfect! The pasta was not overcooked at it had great flavor cooking it in milk instead of boiling it in water. It wasn't overly cheesy and creamy like a traditional macaroni and cheese but was very flavorful. We loved the pesto. I actually think I might even mix in the tomatoes & pesto instead of layering on top next time. Read More
(7)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
03/06/2018
I was excited to try this simplified version of Mac and Cheese. I used Penne pasta instead of elbow (just our family preference) and what I got was a lot of "hard" pasta that was sticking out of the mixture above the sauce not "cooked' and therefore not great to eat. It seemed there wasn't enough liquid/sauce to adequately moisten the uncooked pasta. Was this the result of substituting and equal amount but different SHAPE of pasta? I don't know... I'll try again making sure to leave out some of the dried pasta if it seems insufficiently submerged to get a good result. Read More
12 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 6
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
10/25/2015
I have to say I was fairly skeptical about this method but it turned out absolutely perfect! The pasta was not overcooked at it had great flavor cooking it in milk instead of boiling it in water. It wasn't overly cheesy and creamy like a traditional macaroni and cheese but was very flavorful. We loved the pesto. I actually think I might even mix in the tomatoes & pesto instead of layering on top next time. Read More
(7)
Rating: 5 stars
10/24/2015
We loved this one. I halved the recipe since there are only two of us and served it with breaded pork chops. It was cheesy and creamy and definitely a different twist on mac and cheese. Already looking forward to heating up the leftovers. Next time I make it I'm going to add some crumbled Italian sausage to it for a one-dish meal. Thanks Pam for a really nice and easy recipe! Read More
(3)
Rating: 4 stars
12/26/2015
Followed the directions and was delighted with the results. Will definitely make again! Don't let the lack of reviews stop you from trying this. Read More
(3)
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Rating: 4 stars
10/06/2015
I LOVE how easy this was to throw together and that there was no noodle boiling required. However I'm not as sold on the caprese part... While I did enjoy this I found some bites a bit acidic for me (and I like both tomatoes and pesto). I'm anxious to try this method sans tomatoes/pesto. I subbed Gruyere for fontina (our grocery store no longer carries it) and also added some milk white cheddar that needed to be used. This is a really interesting Mac and cheese and is definitely worth giving a whirl. Thanks for the recipe PAM! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
04/03/2016
Made it for the first time when my sister-in-law her husband and two little girls were in town. She and her husband loved it. Their little girls ate some too. I made a few changes - I did not use whole milk just the skim milk we normally drink I added bacon crumbles to the recipe and I did not use a 9 x 13 shallow dish. But instead I used a deep stone dish. I worked great! So yummy! Read More
(1)
Rating: 3 stars
03/06/2018
I was excited to try this simplified version of Mac and Cheese. I used Penne pasta instead of elbow (just our family preference) and what I got was a lot of "hard" pasta that was sticking out of the mixture above the sauce not "cooked' and therefore not great to eat. It seemed there wasn't enough liquid/sauce to adequately moisten the uncooked pasta. Was this the result of substituting and equal amount but different SHAPE of pasta? I don't know... I'll try again making sure to leave out some of the dried pasta if it seems insufficiently submerged to get a good result. Read More
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Rating: 4 stars
03/25/2019
Brought to a potluck and only a few crumbs left! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
09/16/2018
I used fresh home made pasta instead of dried fresh tomatoes instead of canned cubed fresh bread instead of panco bread crumbs and fresh basil instead of pesto and I cut the milk to 2.5 cups because 4 just seemed like way too much liquid. I crisp-fried about a half pound of bacon along with about 1/3 cup chopped onions and added that to the milk mixture before pouring it over the pasta and cheese mixture. I mixed the chopped fresh basil with the reserved cheese and sprinkled that on top of the then-crispy bread cubes just before taking the pan out of the oven. I always hate it when people rate a recipe they changed a lot but the only drastic change I made really was the addition of bacon and onions. I m pretty sure it would have been great anyway but the baconated version was the bomb. It was a little runnier than traditional Mac n cheese maybe because of the fresh tomatoes or maybe because the fresh pasta didn t soak up as much liquid as dried would have. A little extra flour or even less milk might have helped. Not really a problem though.... five people devoured the entire pan In one sitting and loved it! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
08/04/2019
I really liked the idea of this recipe in that it could be a side dish main vegetarian dish or a good Italian one-dish meal by adding a meat. I chose to add Italian roasted and shredded chicken. The only other changes I made were an additional can of diced tomatoes with garlic oregano and olive oil. In addition to the cheese the recipes calls for I mixed in some Italian Blend cheese. Very very good except there were some hard pieces of pasta. Otherwise it was a hit with my husband and two teenage daughters. Two days later we had leftovers and I transferred them to a newly Pam-sprayed casserole dish and poured some milk in the bottom of the dish before positioning our leftovers in it. The result was perfect pasta. So I would just add a little more milk to the recipe if you experience dry pasta. Will absolutely make again and in many different ways! Read More