Caprese Mac and Cheese

5 from 1 review

25 minutes and 10 ingredients is all it takes to make this Caprese mac and cheese - the perfect twist on a tried and true classic family dinner! It's loaded with sharp white cheddar, shredded Parmesan and fresh mozzarella along with grape tomatoes, fresh basil and balsamic glaze! 


Units Scale
  • 16 oz. rigatoni, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 8 oz. extra sharp white cheddar
  • 5 oz. shredded Parmesan
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella pearls
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 tablespoons balsamic glaze
  • 1/2 cup juilenned fresh basil
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper


  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add butter and stir frequently until melted.  
  2. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. 
  3. Slowly pour in milk, stirring until well combined. Cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. 
  4. Add sharp cheddar and Parmesan to the milk mixture. Stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  5. Add cooked rigatoni to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. 
  6. Top rigatoni with fresh mozzarella and halved tomatoes. 
  7. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted and turning dark golden brown. 
  8. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and garnish with fresh basil.



Salt your pasta water! Your pasta water should literally be as salty as the sea! This means you're going to add a moderate amount of salt to the boiling water before cooking the pasta. Fear not, however, most of this salt will get left behind in the water after you drain the cooked noodles. Cooking the pasta in salted water is going to give your pasta tons of extra flavor.

Cook the pasta just until al dente and not a second longer. If the directions on the box of pasta suggest boiling it for 8-10 minutes, I set my timer for 7 minutes and start testing the pasta after 7 minutes of cooking. This ensures that you can pull the noodles off the heat and drain them as soon as they are al dente. This will help avoid overcooking the noodles and ending up with a mushy mess!

You can switch up the cheese to fit your personal tastes or use whatever you have on hand. However, I recommend using a flavorful cheese in the base of the cheese sauce. Cabot's Seriously Sharp Cheddar is one of my faves. Shredded Parmesan works great too. You could sub regular whole milk or part-skim mozzarella, fontina, or even Havarti for any of the cheeses listed in this recipe. Just keep the ratios the same so the texture is similar!


Keywords: mozzarella mac and cheese, mac and cheese with tomatoes, tomato basil mac and cheese, tomato macaroni and cheese