Macaroni and Tomatoes

Photo Credit: The Southern Lady Cooks

When you have had a busy week, and need to get dinner on the table, it is good to know that there are easy dishes like this macaroni and tomatoes recipe. This dish can act as a side dish as easily as being a filling main but doesn’t include very many ingredients and possibly ones you have on hand already. Judy, the write of The Southern Lady Cooks recipe blog, used to enjoy this macaroni recipe growing up, because it was an economical and easy meal, and also very delicious. It incorporates macaroni, tomatoes and bacon fat for a satisfying dinner recipe.

If you love quick pasta recipes, this one is fast because it doesn’t require any chopping. Judy opts for canned tomatoes with their juices, which are a good choice year-round, and the juices absorb into the noodles. She does mention that you can use fresh tomatoes from the garden, though, which would give this dish an extra fresh quality. Just make sure you don’t use out-of-season tomatoes as they tend to be quite flavourless. In those cases, it is best to stick with Judy’s recommendation of the canned tomatoes, which include tomatoes picked in their prime. In the case of tomato nutrition, both fresh and canned versions are very nutritious. Both include vitamin C, potassium and vitamin A, which are all important nutrients. One thing that canned tomatoes have more of than whole fresh tomatoes is lycopene, which is also important for people to get. Lycopene is a carotenoid that is assumed to prevent several kinds of cancer, like breast cancer and prostate cancer. Since Judy uses canned tomatoes in this tomato macaroni recipe, you will be sure to get plenty of lycopene in your diet.

The wonderful thing about pasta dish recipes is that everyone loves them and they require few pots to make them. In the case of this version, Judy boils the pasta, drains it and returns it to the same pot along with the tomatoes to warm through. As a result, the noodles become nicely tossed with all the juices and diced tomatoes. For al dente pasta lovers, the macaroni may be a little soft, but there are ways to have this dish with more firm macaroni. Rather than simmering the macaroni with the tomatoes, simmer just the tomatoes and add the noodles in at the very end. The macaroni should warm in the sauce very quickly. As with most pasta recipes, this doesn’t keep the best in the refrigerator, because the starchy noodles will continue to absorb the moisture and become softer as they sit. The secret to the enjoyment of this dish is to eat it right away.

If you don’t have macaroni noodles on hand, the good news is that they are easy to substitute in this pasta recipe. Any small, short noodle will work fine, such as shell noodles or penne. Judy mentions getting creative with this dish by incorporating your favourite vegetables, herbs or spices. Since this macaroni recipe is tomato-based, it would be excellent with fresh basil, parsley, oregano or rosemary, in addition to ground meat or sausage. If you don’t have fresh herbs like basil or oregano on hand, you could incorporate dried herbs to taste. Additionally, if you would like to increase your family’s vegetable intake further, you could finely grate onion, garlic, carrot and celery in a food processor and simmer it with the tomatoes. Once incorporated, the vegetables will become part of the sauce. Thank you to Judy, the author of The Southern Lady Cooks recipe blog, for sharing her macaroni and tomatoes recipe with us.

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