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1 pound penne pasta 4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for baking dish 1 pound extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 1 - 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes in juice or two cans of flavored tomatoes 2 tablespoons sugar Pinch of kosher salt (only if needed) Pinch of freshly ground pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the pasta until al denta, two or three minutes less than the package directions. Frain in a colander, but do not rinse.
Return the pasta to the pot and stir in four tablespoons butter. Add the cheese, tomatoes, sugar and pepper. Stir to combine. Pour into a lightly buttered two- quart rectangular baking dish. If you are cooking this dish the next day, cover tightly and refrigerate.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake on the middle shelf, lightly covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook until lightly browned and bubbling. (If you have refrigerated, cook a bit longer.) Watch the casserole when you have uncovered it to make sure it does not get too brown.
This casserole can easily be cut in half by using one regular can of tomatoes. Also if you salt your pasta water, you won't need to add any additional salt.