This is too simple and homely a dish to justify taking 2 pots to make, but there it is. It does. I have to rate it as worth it, because it’s the fabulous marriage of 2 popular comfort foods. As usual, we ate it all. It’s soup, but it’s really also the main event. All it needs is a bit of salad on the side to be a complete meal.
2 to 4 servings20 minutes prep time
In Pot #1:2 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes1/2 cup water1/4 teaspoon salt1 by leaf1 cup small soup-sized pasta (e.g. macaroni)
Put everything but the pasta into a medium-sized saucepan and bring them to a boil. Add the pasta, stir well, and boil for 2 minutes short of the recommended cooking time. Stir occasionally.
In Pot #2:2 tablespoons unsalted butter2 tablespoons flour1 teaspoon mixed Italian herbs OR1/2 teaspoon rubbed basil AND1/4 teaspoon rubbed oregano AND1/8 teaspoon rubbed rosemary leavesfreshly ground black pepper to taste2 cups milk
125 grams (1/4 pound) old Cheddar cheese2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
In a heavy-bottomed 2 litre (qt) soup pot, melt the butter with the flour and seasoning. Mix well and cook to a pale paste. Stir in the milk, a little at a time, to form a smooth sauce, adding larger amounts each time until it is all in. Whisk until thickened; it should take just a few minutes.
Dice or grate the Cheddar and add it to the white sauce you have just made. Stir until completely melted. At about this time, the pasta in the crushed tomatoes should be cooked. Stir it all slowly into the cheese sauce. Do not let it simmer or boil again, but it should be hot through and the pasta should be tender. Serve at once, sprinkled with a little Parmesan.
Last year at this time I made Barley Mujadara.