Mac and cheese with tomato vodka sauce is a grown-up take on a classic

Sep 8, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. ET

The hardest part about making this macaroni and cheese with vodka sauce is holding back on the "taste testing."

I'm not kidding when I say it's risky to taste test this mac and cheese. I can say that from experience, because once you take a bite of it, it's really hard to stop. There's something about the vodka sauce that gives the pasta such a nice flavor.

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I also like the sautéed onions that are kind of hiding and mixed in with the pasta.

macaroni-and-cheese-with-vodka-in-pan

And then there's the thyme... and the cheese... You'll just have to try it and see for yourself how good it is.

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Macaroni and cheese with tomato vodka sauce recipe

A cheesy macaroni and cheese side dish made with vodka sauce and thyme that is so wonderful it might just turn into a main dish.

Serves 3

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1-3/4 cups half-and-half
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt to taste)
  • 4 dashes ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2-1/4 cups cooked mini penne pasta (cooked al dente)
  • 1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese (or slices that are chopped)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 sprigs thyme, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Heat a large skillet on medium heat, and add the olive oil.
  3. Add the onions, and stir as they cook. Let cook until they are translucent (about 6 to 7 minutes).
  4. To the pan, add the butter, and stir.
  5. Add the vodka, half-and-half, thyme leaves, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Stir.
  6. Let the sauce come to a slow boil, and continue to stir. Then add the pasta, and stir.
  7. Add the provolone cheese, and stir. Add more salt if needed.
  8. To an ovenproof casserole dish, add the pasta mixture. If the sauce appears to be too dry, add more half-and-half.
  9. Top with mozzarella cheese, and bake until the cheese melts (about 5 minutes).
  10. Serve while hot.

More vodka sauce recipes

Chicken pomodoro with vodka cream sauce
Vegan penne alla vodka
Whole-wheat penne with vodka cream sauce

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