One of my favorite comfort meals as a kid was tomato soup with a buttery, toasty grilled cheese sandwich. I loved it when my mom would cut the sandwich at a diagonal so I always had a pointy end to dunk into the creamy, tangy (yet sweet) soup. And when she would go one step further and toss in a few oyster or goldfish crackers?
Don’t even get me started.
There is just something about this flavor combination that has managed to stand the test of time. So there wasn’t a question in my mind when I spotted these Tomato Carrot Penne at our local Target:
I threw those badboys in the cart, grabbed a tiny milk carton of Goldfish crackers (Okay, two. I did have a tiny blonde co-pilot with me.) and rolled on over to the cheese aisle so I could make this for dinner:
“Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese” Mac n’ Cheese
makes 6 – 8 servings
1 box Barilla Veggie Penne (Tomato Carrot)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp yellow mustard (I know, it sounds weird but don’t skip this. Trust me.)
8 ounces medium cheddar cheese (shredded)
4 ounces colby jack cheese (shredded)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and set aside.
Boil the pasta in salted water according to package directions. (Only cook to al dente so they absorb the cheese and finish off in the oven.) Drain and pour into the prepared casserole dish then set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter completely then add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook this, whisking continuously for around 5 minutes then pour in the milk and whisk until combined and thickened. Add in the garlic powder, salt, pepper and mustard and continue whisking until completely combined and smooth. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the cheeses then continue stirring until completely melted and smooth.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and gently stir to evenly coat.
This mac n’ cheese is pretty amazing, our entire house had such a nostalgic, comforting smell while it was baking. And, Finley cleaned his plate. He may have even been quoted as saying “This mac n’ cheese is REALLY REALLY good. Even if it’s got red stuff in it.”
Then I swore I saw a pig fly by the kitchen window.