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Caprese Mac and Cheese

 In Dinner/Supper, Pasta, Recipes, Vegetarian

Caprese mac and cheese is the family classic given a fresh twist with delicious Caprese flavours. Fresh basil, tomatoes and mozzarella take it up a notch.

Caprese mac and cheese

When you have kids, you probably eat an awful lot of mac and cheese. Well, we do anyway. And even though I love mac and cheese (like, really love), there’s only so many times I can eat it before I get tired of it. Thus, I am forced to come up with interesting flavour additions to make this family staple a bit more interesting. Not only for us adults but also for the kids. I want them to be exposed to more than just carbs and cheese.

Caprese mac and cheese

Caprese mac and cheese

I’ve added tomato slices to my mac and cheese for a really long time and wanted to amp it up a notch and since I have a big batch of home-made basil pesto in the fridge, I thought it a good idea to add a few dollops. And it was! It was also clear that I was on the path to Caprese deliciousness and decided to add some milky, luscious fior di latte which turned this Caprese mac and cheese into something rather special. All in all, this is a fabulous mac and cheese which is great for weeknight dinners but also something I will happily serve to guests.

Caprese mac and cheese

5.0 from 1 reviews
Caprese Mac and Cheese
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Caprese mac and cheese is the family classic given a fresh twist with delicious Caprese flavours. Fresh basil, tomatoes and mozzarella take it up a notch.
Recipe type: Pasta, Baked pasta, Mac and cheese, Dinner
Serves: 4-6
for the sauce
  • 100g butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 litre milk, warmed with 1 bay leaf, ½ onion and 5 black peppercorns
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 150g gruyere/ other strong, mature cheese, grated
  • salt & white pepper to taste
for the tomato layer
  • 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
for the mac and cheese
  • 500g pasta of your choice (I used a spiral shaped tube), cooked + 1 cup of cooking water reserved
  • 8 ripe tomatoes, sliced into ½ cm slices
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • 150g fior di latte (or other mozzarella of your choice)
  1. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan then add the flour and whisk to make a roux.
  2. Slowly whisk in the milk until it has been fully incorporated.
  3. Turn the heat down, add the nutmeg and allow the sauce to simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  4. Turn down the heat then add the cheese, salt and pepper and stir until the cheese has melted.
  5. Mix the sauce with the pasta and add a little of the cooking water should the sauce be too thick.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
  7. To make the tomato layer, add the salt and sugar to the tomatoes and blend with a stick blender until smooth. Pour in the bottom of an oven-proof dish.
  8. Place half of the pasta in the dish on top of the tomatoes then top with half of the tomato slices and cheese. Dollop on the basil pesto.
  9. Top with the remaining pasta.
  10. Top with the remaining tomatoes and cheese then place in the oven.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tomatoes are roasted slightly and the cheese has melted and is golden brown.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

More Caprese recipes you will love:

Grilled Caprese bruschetta

Grilled Caprese bruschetta

Roasted Caprese tomatoes

Roasted Caprese tomatoes

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Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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Showing 33 comments
  • Sheila Boone

    Would love to make this recipe, but because I just turned 70, I never learned grams, liters, etc. I looked at my butter and it doesn’t show grams on the wrapper. Can I get the conversions to cups, ounces, etc.? And the pan looked like a 9 x 13? Thanks.

    • Alida Ryder

      Hi Sheila. 100g of butter equates to just under 1 stick (a stick is 125g), 1 litre of milk is 4 cups (1 cup is 250ml) and 150g of Grueyere is around 3/4-1 cup of grated cheese. A 400g can of tomatoes is the standard can size, not completely sure what size that would be in ounces, 500g pasta is 1 pound. I hope that’s helpful!

  • Monica

    I love, love, LOVE caprese salad! To make mac & cheese with it too…. genius!
    will try 🙂
    Monica from Mama Bee Simple

  • Little Nibblers

    We adapted it slightly but thanks for the recipe! Our results are here:

  • Alida Ryder

    You strain them out.

  • Alida Ryder

    I used a casserole dish of around 40cmx20cm and all the sauce gets absorbed. In fact, I never make mac & cheese without cooking the pasta first. Perhaps your sauce is too liquid?

  • pennycharla

    I commented earlier…….decided to go ahead and make this. Curious as to what size pan you used. I have so much sauce and with the pasta already cooked through nothing is being absorbed in the baking pan. I think I shall have a caprese mac and cheese soup.

  • pennycharla

    Do you strain the onions out of the milk or use them?

  • Alida Ryder

    So glad you liked it Nathalie!

  • Nathalie

    Hi! I just made this tonight and the whole family loved it! It was delicious as is, husband just added crushed red pepper to it 🙂 Thank you!

  • Peggy Candela Pettis

    That looks obscenely delicious lol!

  • Kimberly @ Turning The Pages

    This looks absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to try it.

    • Alida Ryder

      Let me know what you think once you’ve tried it!

  • Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg

    This looks divine! And a nice change from the usual Mac and cheese.

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