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Lighter Macaroni and Cheese

6 small vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 24 - 1/4 inch thick slices (3-inch)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 12 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus sprigs for sprinkling
coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
5 slices white bread, with crusts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lb elbow macaroni
2 cups chicken stock (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 cups 1% low-fat milk
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (abut 2 1/4 cups)
1 ounce parmesan cheese, freshly grated (about 1/2 cup)


Preheat oven to 400F Spread tomatoes in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle each sheet with 1 Tbsp oil; sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoons thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until tomatoes have softened, about 20 minutes. (Leave oven on). Process bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Melt 1 tablespoons butter with remaining tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs, and toss to coat, Season with salt and pepper; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon salt and the pasta. Cook pasta until almost al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking. Transfer to a large bowl; set aside. Whisk 1/2 cup stock into the flour in a medium bowl; set aside. Melt remaining tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in nutmeg, cayenne, remaining 1/2 tsp, thyme, and 1 teaspoons salt. Add milk and remaining 1 1/2 cups stock. Whisk in flour mixture. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce to a simmer. Cook 8 minutes, whisking frequently. Add cheeses; cool, stirring until melted. Pour over macaaroni, stirring to combine. Put eight 4 1/2 x 1 1/4 inch ramekins on a baking sheet, Put 2 tomato slices in bottom of each ramekin, Divide macaroni mixture evenly among ramekins. Top each with a tomato slice. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and thyme sprigs. Bake until bubbling and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Source: www.food.com