Italian Mac & Cheese

I don’t think it’s possible to have too many recipes for variations on macaroni and cheese.  This particular version is one of my husband’s favorites, and I’m sure he thinks I don’t make it often enough.It’s good with either sweet or hot Italian sausage, so use whichever you prefer.  The original recipe also called for mushrooms, which my husband loves but the kids hate, so I don’t usually include them.  If you’d like to add them, stir them into the skillet along with the garlic.  Sometimes, if I’m in a hurry (which is most of the time), I skip the broiling step and serve this right out of the skillet.

Italian Mac & Cheese

Italian Mac and Cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound penne, ziti or rigatoni pasta
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Italian 4 cheese blend
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained well
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta to a chewy al dente, about 8 minutes.
  2. In a nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain cooked crumbles on a paper towel lined plate.
  3. Return pan to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Saute about 3 minutes, until garlic is fragrant.
  5. Preheat broiler to high heat.
  6. Add flour to skillet and stir, cooking 2 minutes. Whisk in stock, then stir in cream.
  7. Bring cream to a bubble, then stir in 2 cups of Italian cheese blend. When cheese has melted into sauce, add tomatoes.
  8. When sauce comes to a bubble, remove from heat and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce if desired.
  9. Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta and transfer to a large baking dish. Sprinkle with additional half cup Italian cheese blend and grated Parmesan.
  10. Cook under hot broiler until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Who Dished It Up First: I adapted this slightly from a Rachael Ray recipe.  You can find her version here.

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Comments

  1. This looks like the perfect dish of a cold winter evening. I’ll add the mushrooms for sure. Looks delish!

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