The old-fashioned Macaroni and Tomatoes recipe is a simple, southern side dish that takes two ingredients, a dash of seasoning, and 20 minutes.
Why you will love this one
While exploring the Branson, Missouri area and dining at Lambert's Cafe, you might have had the chance to sample the cafe's unlimited sides, among which the Macaroni and Tomatoes is a noteworthy option.
I've sampled Lambert's Cafe's version, but I prefer my daddy's.
Of course, when my dad made this dish for us growing up, I lacked an appreciation for its culinary brilliance.
But while testing it for you, I have fallen in love with it and totally get why he loved it. I hope you will, too!
NOTE: One more thing... this is not intended to be an Italian pasta dish (which I love) so it lacks garlic, herbs, etc. Try it this simple way, I think you will be glad you did.
Seriously, how many side dishes have 2 ingredients (plus seasoning), 1 pot, and taste this delicious?
- Elbow Macaroni is my favorite, but try rotini noodles or other small pasta if that's what you have in your pantry.
- Stewed Tomatoes have added veggies including celery, green peppers, and onions in the can to add some interest and flavor to the finished dish.
- If you have canned chopped tomatoes in your pantry, cook until soft: celery, peppers, and/or onions along with the butter instead of using stewed tomatoes.
- Butter, salt, pepper, and sugar. Season to your liking. The amounts in the recipes are suggestions.
Cook the elbow macaroni 1-2 minutes LESS than the boxed recommendations. This makes your final product the perfect al dente texture.
Stir pasta often to keep it from sticking to the pot and together.
For more tomato flavor, stir in a tablespoon of tomato paste.
How to Make Macaroni and Tomatoes
Cook elbow macaroni in heavily salted water. Salted water is the only way to really get flavor into your noodles.
Set the noodles aside to drain while you work on the rest of the dish.
Do not rinse the macaroni noodles. The starch on the noodles allows the sauce to stick.
In the same pot you cooked your pasta in, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Butter burns easily so don't walk away.
To the butter, add the canned stewed tomatoes, salt, pepper, and sugar. Simmer for 3-5 minutes on medium-low until liquids are cooked off a little bit.
Add the cooked elbow macaroni to the tomato mixture and heat through. Allow the stewed tomatoes and seasonings to really get into the noodles.
Top with parsley for garnish if desired.
This is a great starter recipe that is tasty just the way I've shared it, but you can mix it up to make your tastebuds happy.
A couple of ideas for you to try:
- stir in some chopped, cooked bacon
- use bacon grease instead of butter to add richness
Put leftovers in a covered bowl and refrigerate for 3-5 days. To reheat, add a little splash of water to rehydrate the noodles.
What to serve with Macaroni and Tomatoes
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE? ❤️
Lastly, if you tried Macaroni and Tomatoes following this recipe, please let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and giving a rating!
I love hearing from you! I'll do my best to respond to each comment.
And of course, if you do make this recipe, tag me on Instagram or Facebook! Seeing your photos is my favorite thing!
- Wash hands before cooking
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
Macaroni and Tomatoes
- 1 pound elbow macaroni noodles
- 1 can stewed tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook elbow macaroni in salted water. Cook for 1-2 minutes less than the box recommends. Set aside to drain.
- In the same pot, melt butter.
- Add the stewed tomatoes, salt, pepper, and sugar. Simmer for around 5 minutes or until liquids are cooked off a little bit.
- Add elbow macaroni to the tomato mixture and heat through.
- Adjust seasonings.
- Top with parsley for garnish if desired.