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Mexican Macaroni


I must confess that I really like macaroni and cheese and this, I think, is the ultimate. The addition of colorful tomatoes and chiles brings this simple, everyday dish to delectable heights.

2 cups elbow macaroni
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound (about 12 medium) ripe cherry tomatoes, very coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pickled sliced jalapenos, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated, plus several thin slices for topping
1 cup milk
 

Preheat oven to 450° F.

Cook macaroni in plenty of boiling water until tender but still al dente. Drain very well and transfer to 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Stir in butter until combined; set aside.

Heat oil in small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and cook for 2 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes, chiles, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook for
3 minutes or until tomatoes are softened. Stir mixture into noodles, then stir in grated cheese. Pour in milk; do not stir.

Arrange slices of cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly flecked with golden brown.

Serves 4 to 6
 

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