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Macaroni and Cheese My Way

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8 ounces ziti, cooked to directions on the package
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
One 8-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
Four dashes of whole milk, about 1/2 cup
Five pads of butter to taste about 1/4 cup


It’s getting cold and the best comfort food is macaroni and cheese, layered casserole style. Ziti is merely a term for a larger form of macaroni. This recipe is passed down from my grandmother; it is very old and traditional. And, baby, I’m not young.

Assemble all the ingredients on a counter. Grease a 5-inch deep ceramic dish, about 8 inches square. Butter the dish well. First layer one-third of the ziti, then top with one-third of the cheese. Next, scatter the tomatoes and dabs of butter on top of the layer. Repeat this twice more. It is easy to remember that all of the ingredients will be divided into thirds. You should end with the top layer of cheese, tomato, and butter. Next splash the milk over the casserole using as much as you like for either a drier or creamier dish of food. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for thirty to forty-five minutes. The top should be slightly brown and crispy. This recipe feeds about three people. Remember the ingredients may be doubled and the cooking time increased to fifty-five minutes in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Cool about seven to ten minutes. Serve.


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