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Monday, January 31, 2011

The Tomato Bowl

Well, this is an exciting week.  The big game is on Sunday and almost everyone in Pittsburgh has Steelers fever.  There is black and gold where ever you look.  Sunday will practically be a national holiday around here.

It's also an exciting week because today is the kick off (pardon the pun) of the Red Gold / Red Pack Tomato Bowl.  What, you ask, is the Tomato Bowl?  Well, I'll tell you.   The Tomato Bowl is a contest put together by the Red Gold / Red Pack tomato people between five Pittsburgh food bloggers and five Green Bay food bloggers.  We all have one week to come up with as many recipes incorporating Red Gold / Red Pack tomato products as we can.  The team, either Pittsburgh or Green Bay, that comes up with the most wins.  As I said, it's all very exciting.

Now, here's the thing.  Me being me, of course I see this an opportunity to strut my culinary stuff.  So, I've come up with a bunch of truly delectable snack-worthy recipes for you to try on Sunday.  They're all very easy and will feed a crowd, if you so desire.  Best of all, they all contain Red Gold / Red Pack tomatoes.  It's a win win.  I get to compete in the Tomato Bowl and you get lots of new recipes fit for a party.

The really great thing about this for You Little Tarte is that we'll get some publicity and more people will drop by the blog.  This is just what we need!  It's a great opportunity for people who love food and don't know about us to become followers.  And if we win the Tomato Bowl, we get bragging rights (and lots of Red Gold / Red Pack tomato products).  Now, I usually try not to brag, but I think winning this would be brag worthy.  Don't you?

Oh, and winning on Sunday would be brag worthy too.  As I said.  A win win.

You Little Tarte's Mexican Mac and Cheese

This recipe is a spin on traditional mac and cheese.  It's colorful and very flavorful because of the addition of the peppers and tomatoes.  It's sure to be a crowd pleaser.


Kosher salt
1 pound cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all purpose flour
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 red bell pepper. small diced
1 yellow bell pepper, small diced
1 small red onion, small diced
1 (14.5 ounce) can Red Gold / Red Pack petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, small diced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon  coriander
1 1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the cavatappi according to package directions.  Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Over medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large pot and add the peppers and onions.  Saute until soft but bot browned, about 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and add the flour.  Stir the flour to cover the vegetables and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and then the hot milk and cook for a minute or two, until thick and smooth.  Off the heat, add the cheeses, 1 tablespoon of salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander.  Add the cooked pasta and stir well.  Pour into a 3-quart greased baking dish.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle evenly over the top of the pasta.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the pasta is browned on top.

1 comment:

  1. Loving this recipe...and your site! I'm also participating in the Tomato Bowl for the Pittsburgh crowd (although I'm not a foodie, by any means). Here's to winning both this bowl and Sundays!