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Caprese Mac and Cheese

Photo: Randy Mayor; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley; Prop Styling: Lindsay Lower
Yield Serves 4 (serving size: about 2 cups)
The classic Italian salad gets a kick of creamy comfort in this deliciously light hybrid recipe.


  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 ounces uncooked penne
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1.5 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons panko
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Small basil leaves (optional)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 391
  • fat 13.9 g
  • satfat 5.7 g
  • monofat 5.5 g
  • polyfat 0.9 g
  • protein 21 g
  • carbohydrate 46 g
  • fiber 3 g
  • cholesterol 26 mg
  • iron 2 mg
  • sodium 603 mg
  • calcium 436 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat broiler to high.

  2. Combine tomatoes and 2 teaspoons oil on a jellyroll pan. Broil 3 minutes or until tomatoes begin to break down.

  3. Cook pasta in a large saucepan according to package directions, omit­ting salt and fat. Drain. Return pasta to pan.

  4. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add ­remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in flour. Add milk, salt, and black pepper, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a simmer; cook 1 minute or until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat; stir in cheeses. Add cheese mixture to pasta; toss. Stir in tomato mixture and torn basil. Spoon pasta mixture into 4 (6-ounce) gratin dishes coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle panko and red pepper over pasta mixture. Broil 2 minutes or until panko is browned. Garnish with basil leaves, if desired.