Photo: Randy Mayor; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley; Prop Styling: Lindsay Lower
Serves 4 (serving size: about 2 cups)

The classic Italian salad gets a kick of creamy comfort in this deliciously light hybrid recipe.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat broiler to high.

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 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.

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Ratings & Reviews

3 1/2 stars

December 16, 2015
Nice to have a little different take on mac-n-cheese.  The flavors are good together and it was fairly easy to put together but there were a lot of pans to clean!  I didn't make this in individual gratins but all together in one casserole dish.  Watch that Panko under the broiler - it burns quickly!  Had with CL's Garlicky Spinach.

Easy, yummy and good.

September 20, 2015
Easy to prepare and well received by family. Meatless meal. Will definitely make again.

Creamy and delicious

August 27, 2015
Got to give this 5 stars for ease of preparation and flavor. Will be making this one again for sure.


June 20, 2015
Made this tonight for dinner as a side for grilled steak. Everyone loved it! Will definitely make again! Was not watching the time on the tomatoes so they became very soft. When added to the cheese mixture they totally dissolved, which gave the sauce a nice color and great flavor.

Very good....with adjustments!

June 15, 2015
I took the advice of previous reviewers, and made to recipe except I added more salt and crushed red pepper to the roux. I also added garlic salt to the tomatoes before broiling them. It was delicious, my husband ate two helpings and my toddler ate a whole one. I will say, there are ALOT of tomatoes, so don't worry if you don't have enough. I will use half the tomatoes next time.

sukeedog's Review

January 01, 2015

AnglWords's Review

November 14, 2014
I agree with Emily 2281. This was a lot of work to make for an average recipe. I agree to mix the red pepper throughout the dish. It does need something to make it pop; and I thought it wasn't creamy enough, which is always a problem with lighter pasta recipes. Will not make it again.

hjendo's Review

October 07, 2014
So good. Everyone loved it!

KarinF's Review

September 04, 2014
I don't usually make Mac n Cheese. Too many babysitter nights of making the Kraft version of this for my kids maybe... But I was in the mood for something different and it was the first week of school. I needed a quick recipe. Plus, my cherry tomatoes were in full swing... I was pleasantly surprised by the ease and tastiness of this recipe. I made it exactly, and there were leftovers for another night when we needed to grab and go. It was good. Not worthy of a special occasion, but certainly useful. I think next time I may add the bacon suggested by another reviewer. I think that might make it special!

Emily2281's Review

September 03, 2014
I made the recipe exactly as spelled out. It was bland and need more salt. It would also be nice if the red pepper was mixed through out the dish. Maybe some garlic or something to give it more depth. I will not be making this any time soon.