Hooray! I didn’t quit before my second blog post! I’m doing great! Hahahaha.
I still remember my mom always telling me that once I go off to college, I’m going to miss her cooking. Boy, I don’t think she could have been more right! As the title of this post states, there is nothing better than a home cooked meal!
On that note, yesterday Alex and I decide to cook something! His apartment has a full kitchen, so why not take advantage of it and have fun in the process? We decided on making a baked mac and cheese with marinara! I snagged the recipe from The Naptime Chef.
Recipe: Baked Mac and Cheese with Marinara
1 pound macaroni, cooked and drained
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh marinara sauce
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium saucepan, warm the mascarpone, Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and mozzarella until they are all melted together.
3. In a large bowl, toss the melted cheese sauce with the cooked pasta.
4. Spread the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish in one even layer. Pour the pasta mixture on top of it. Scatter the breadcrumbs evenly on top and dot the top with the butter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is toasted and the cheese is bubbly.
We added more than a “pinch” of red pepper flakes because we like spicy food! We did not use the entire 4 tablespoons of butter either because that was simply too much.
Lastly, to save on dish washing, after straining the water from the noodles, we just poured the noodles back into the pot they had been cooking in and mixed the cheese in with them rather than using a separate large bowl.)
Here are some shots of our process!
He did an A+ job at stirrin’ up the noodles!
This is before we put it in the oven. I just wanted to dig in right then!
Someone’s happy to dig in!
His shirt says “Saturdays are for getting bucked up!”
Punny shirt for football season!
Nom nom nom! Time to dig in!
Then we ate this beauty for dessert!
I’m being 100% honest when I say if you haven’t tried this, you are missing out on pure heaven in your mouth! Ever since Alex introduced this to me, I’ve been hooked! You’ll find yourself scraping the bottom of the pint to grab every last bit!
Overall, we think the dish was pretty good, but needed a few adjustments! It was definitely good enough to grab a second helping, but if we ever made this again, we would alter a few things:
1. Use a longer type of noodle rather than elbow noodles (maybe penne, rigatoni, or rotini).
2. Add a thicker layer of marinara sauce to the bottom of the pan, or put some on top to make it more of a lasagna type dish. The recipe didn’t state exactly how much marinara to use, but it tasted really awesome and we kept wishing we put more.
3. Either scrap the white cheese sauce recipe and try another one or make a larger serving of it (possibly using a cup and a half or a cup of the ingredients) because there simply wasn’t a good balance of noodles to cheese.
4. Rid of the breadcrumbs and butter entirely. In our opinion, the breadcrumbs only made the top noodles hard and the butter didn’t do anything but make the breadcrumbs darker.
I definitely recommend this recipe though! It tastes even better the second night around. 🙂 I will be making this with the alterations for my family over spring break which is coming soon! I’ll let you know how it tastes and how they like it!
I hope you all have a good night! Have sweet dreams! Or should I say, have ooey, gooey, cheesy dreams? 🙂