"I've always liked macaroni and cheese, but my husband prefers macaroni with tomato sauce. So I added spaghetti sauce and mozzarella to give my mac and cheese an Italian flavor," writes Isabelle Wolters of Scituate, Massachusetts.
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VERIFIED BY Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup meatless spaghetti sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups fat-free milk
- 1-1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and sliced
- Cook pasta according to package directions until cooked but firm. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, saute the onion, celery and green pepper in oil until tender. Stir in spaghetti sauce, basil and oregano. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain macaroni; stir into sauce. Transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a saucepan, combine the flour, salt, nutmeg and cayenne. Gradually stir in milk until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in cheddar and mozzarella cheeses until melted.
- Pour over macaroni mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese and tomatoes. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 6 servings.
Originally published as Macaroni 'N' Cheese Italiano in Light & Tasty April/May 2004, p5