Mac and Cheese with Marinara Sauce is a tomato based mac and cheese recipe that is easy to make and loaded with creamy, cheesy goodness!
Magic happens when you mix my delicious slow cooker Red Sauce with irresistibly rich cream! The flavors pair so well together and really take mac and cheese to a whole new level!
Add in loads of Fontina cheese and basil and some fancy Cavatappi pasta noodles and this dish will impress company, but also is a hit with the kids!
I encourage you to use my Red Sauce recipe, however, if you are short on time you can use your favorite store-bought sauce and still have a winner on your hands! Just be sure to use FRESH basil! Dried basil is not a good substitute! Trust me on this one. Nothing compares to fresh basil! It's true!
Mac and Cheese with Marinara Sauce
- 16 ounces of Cavatappi Pasta (Cork Screw)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
- 3 cups Red Sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan Cheese
- 1 1/2 cups grated Fontina Cheese
- 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1/4-1/2 cup fresh basil
- Get the Red Sauce going in the slow cooker early in the day if needed.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving some of the liquid to toss with the pasta and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat slightly until the oil has a sheen and add 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic. Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic! Add 3 cups prepared Red Sauce and bring up to a simmer. Add 1 cup heavy cream and cook until just heated through. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. Keep tasting and adding a little bit at a time until you have it just the way you like :) Add in the pasta and mix well with the sauce.
- Place pasta and sauce into a 13x9" casserole dish and mix in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Top with 1 1/2 cups grated Fontina cheese and 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs (use the measurement for the bread crumbs as a guide and be sure to add more or less according to how you like it). Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until bubbly. Remove from oven and let rest about 10 minutes. Top with fresh basil and granish with more Parmesan cheese if you like. Enjoy!
Prep Time: 10 mins.
Total time: 30 mins.
Tags: Macaroni and Cheese, Pasta, Marinara Sauce, Red Sauce, Italian, Cheese, Main, Kid Friendly, Budget Friendly, 30 Minute Meal
recipe inspired by allrecipes.com Elbow Mac and Cheese with Tuscan Herb Sauce
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