Thursday, October 10, 2013

Macaroni and Tomatoes with Andouille

Classic macaroni and tomatoes pairs up with spicy andouille for a little Cajun kick.
Classic macaroni and tomatoes pairs up with spicy andouille for a little Cajun kick.

Macaroni and Tomatoes with Andouille

Macaroni and tomatoes is a depression dish that so many folks still have fond memories of. In it's purest form, it's simply lightly stewed fresh garden tomatoes or home canned tomatoes, and pasta, usually elbow macaroni, stirred in, maybe a little butter, and salt and pepper. That's about it.

Lots of folks jazz it up a bit these days, adding in onion, green pepper, celery, even ground beef, almost turning it into a kind of goulash skillet meal. I like mine with just a few additions - some chopped onion, a bay leaf, a seasoned stewed canned tomato when fresh tomatoes aren't at peak, and some good and spicy andouille sausage.

The andouille is not at all traditional and completely optional, so you can leave it out, or if you'd like to use it, but prefer less heat, substitute a kielbasa or other milder smoked sausage. Even browned cut up hot dogs are good. Remember though, by substituting something other than andouille, you will not have the same flavor as how I've written this recipe, so as always, taste and adjust!

While fresh tomatoes are amazing here, canned tomatoes, whether store-bought or home canned, are perfectly acceptable for this dish also. I happen to like the Del Monte stewed tomatoes seasoned with basil, garlic and oregano for the extra flavor it gives.

That's a really tasty product, but you may use whatever type of tomatoes you like, including plain or low sodium. Diced is fine too if you're not a lover of larger chunks of tomato in your recipes. This is super easy to throw together too.

Boil 8 ounces (about 1-1/2 cups) of dry macaroni to al dente - about a minute less than the lower number on the package - in well salted water. Drain and place into serving bowl; set aside.

I love just plain macaroni with tomatoes, but I really love it with andouille sausage tossed in. Either way - your choice. Meanwhile, saute a pound of spicy andouille sausage in 1/2 tablespoon of fat over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Add 1 cup of chopped onion; cook and stir another 3 minutes until softened.

Add 2 (14.5 ounce) cans of stewed tomatoes and their juices and 1 small bay leaf; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. If using fresh tomatoes, be sure to reserve all of their juices. Add in a little granulated or brown sugar with fresh or home canned tomatoes also. You won't need it with commercially canned. Let simmer uncovered for 20 minutes at a very low bubble, stirring occasionally and using a spoon to break up the tomatoes.

Taste and add salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning if you like, to taste, but only if needed. I don't usually add any additional seasonings, but if you're making any adjustments to the original recipe, taste and see if you need some! Stir in the finishing butter, if using.

Pour mixture over the elbows. Let rest, without stirring, until ready to serve.

Stir to combine and serve. Since this dish is kinda heavy on tomato, The Cajun isn't as crazy about it as I am, but, I can enjoy this entire pot all on my little ole lonesome for days, so it's all good!

Delicious. Here's how to make it.

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Recipe: Macaroni and Tomatoes with Andouille

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 25 min | Yield: About 4 servings

  • 8 ounces of elbow macaroni (about 1-1/2 cups dry)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of bacon drippings, butter or cooking oil
  • 1 pound of andouille or other spicy smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans of stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and/or Cajun seasoning, to taste, only if needed
  • 1/2 tablespoon of butter, optional

Boil macaroni to al dente according to the package directions in well salted water. Drain and place into serving bowl; set aside. Meanwhile, saute the sausage in the fat over medium for about 4 minutes. Add the onion; cook and stir another 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the bay leaf; bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 20 minutes at a very low bubble, stirring occasionally and using a spoon to break up the tomatoes. Taste and add salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning, only if needed. Stir in butter, if using, then pour mixture over the elbows. Let rest until ready to serve, then stir to combine.

Cook's Notes: The andouille may be omitted entirely for a more classic macaroni and tomatoes. Andouille sausage is a highly spiced smoked sausage that is blended with Cajun spices, adding a spicy kick and great flavor to these dishes. If you substitute kielbasa or other smoked sausages in recipes where it calls for Andouille, it will affect the outcome of your dish and you’ll need to make adjustments in the seasonings you use.

I like to use Luxury brand elbows and Del Monte stewed tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano. If using fresh tomatoes, add 2 teaspoons of granulated or brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning and 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder. Also good when made with other milder smoked sausage or even hot dogs - just adjust seasonings to taste accordingly.


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Posted by on October 10, 2013
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  1. This is a great recipe. I think I could make it fancy for visitors by using spiral or corkscrew macaroni. Otherwise, it's very similar to jambalaya seasoning added to pasta for a cajun pasta salad.

  2. Ours was always more like ghoulash or chili mac and I loved that stuff.

  3. This is a great meat-stretcher. I remember as a kid we used to make this-- it was known as "American Chop Suey." You did everything in your recipe, then put it in a dutch oven, topped it with a lot of grated Cheddar cheese, and baked it until the cheese was bubbling.

  4. Can the tomatoes be left out and maybe add a small amount of tomato sauce instead? My kids don't want to eat anything that they can see the tomatoes in.

  5. Can a small amount of tomato sauce be substituted for the tomatoes? My kids don't want to eat anything that they see tomatoes in, so I was thinking if I added the sauce, it would still have the flavor and no problem.

    1. Yes! While some form of tomato is generally used even with the sauce sometimes, I'm sure the sauce would work on its own as well just fine!

  6. I thought it was time to comment - I've now made this so much I can't even count how many times. Every time it's delicious! So simple, yet so satisfying. As a vegetarian I make it with Field Roast Mexican Chipotle sausages and look forward to every last bite. Thank you for sharing it!

    1. You're very welcome! You know, sometimes it's just the most simple of things that can be so comforting! I'm so glad to hear you were able to make this vegetarian and that you've been enjoying it - thanks so much for letting me know! That really means a lot to me. :)


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