All the flavors of a caprese salad come together in this warm, comforting Caprese Mac & Cheese. With roasted tomatoes, fresh basil, plenty of mozzarella and balsamic glaze, you’ll have the whole family going back for seconds and thirds!
So my dad is probably the worst cook in the entire world. Once he tried to make me the boxed macaroni and cheese, but he never drained the water. Ummm…it was disgusting. Anyway, he is a huge fan of Italian food, and so I grew up going out to Italian restaurants. My dad would always order a caprese salad to “share” with me.
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And by “share”, I mean that I would steal all the cheese and leave him all of the tomatoes. To be fair, he does love tomatoes. And I have always loved cheese. I gave up dairy once for about 2 months. My body actually did feel a little better without it, but I just couldn’t hang. Me + cheese have a long standing love story, and I can-not, will-not give it up.
Once upon a time not too long ago, my hatred for tomatoes finally faded and I grew to appreciate the whole caprese salad. My love for mac & cheese? Never wavered. Obviously. So when I got the idea to meld two of my loves together, I knew it was going to be magical.
Yes. Magical. Rich, creamy, warm and comforting mac & cheese that is surprisingly healthy all finished off perfectly with a thick, lightly sweet balsamic glaze that takes everything to the next level!
For the roasted tomatoes:
- 2 roma tomatoes sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- generous pinch each salt and pepper
For the mac & cheese
- 8 ounces uncooked whole grain macaroni I used gluten-free, use whatever works for you
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or whatever milk you'd like
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or more almond milk
- 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
- salt and pepper
- roasted tomatoes chopped
- 2-3 basil leaves finely chopped
For the balsamic glaze:
- 1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and place tomato slices down in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until edges lightly brown, about 15 minutes. Chop and set aside.
- Get the balsamic glaze started by pouring balsamic vinegar in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer until reduced and thickened stirring occasionally, about 30-40 minutes (depending on how thick and syrupy you prefer).
- Meanwhile, begin cooking macaroni according to package instructions. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium low heat. Add garlic and toss until fragrant. Add cream cheese, milk and wine and whisk until combined, Stir in mozzarella and chopped tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in macaroni, then add fresh basil. Stir and serve drizzled with balsamic glaze. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
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