With this, three ingredients are a must in my book – canned tomatoes, macaroni, and bacon grease. Canned tomatoes make it easy and perfect as a year-round dish. And I actually prefer the flavor of the canned variety in this one. Macaroni is obvious. And the bacon grease, while it can be replaced with butter, is required for me because it gives the dish it’s signature savory, smoky flavor.
Some folks add onions, some add green peppers, and some add cheese on top. I like it pretty simple and straightforward.
Which brings me to another ingredient… sugar. In all my time eating this dish, sugar is probably the most common other ingredient. And while I don’t care for it with the sugar myself, many folks say it helps to reduce the acidity of the tomatoes. I happen to like that acidity, but if that’s not your thing you can certainly add some sugar to the mix.
I’d start by adding about 1 teaspoon of regular ol’ white sugar at the end with the salt and pepper and then add more to suit your tastes. In this case I think it’s just a matter of what you’re used to and if you’re used to this dish being sweet, then by golly you should add in some sugar.
Classic Macaroni and Tomatoes
- 2 cups uncooked macaroni
- 1 tablespoon bacon grease
- 1 (20-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- sugar (optional - see note)
- Cook the macaroni in salted water to al dente according to the package instructions then drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- In a large pot, melt the bacon grease and pour in the tomatoes with the juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally - about 10 minutes.
- Add the macaroni to the tomatoes and mix well. Add the salt and pepper. Mix well then adjust seasoning to taste. (See my note about sugar below.) Serve warm.