Recipe from Bites: Italian Mac and Cheese

by Jessie on September 19, 2011


Yum! This is one of my many favorite mac and cheese recipes. This is a great meal to bring to new moms, make for a freezer meal or bring to a potluck.  It is best hot out of the oven, so make it for a crowd because the leftovers aren’t as amazing.

1 pound ziti rigate, penne rigate or cavatappi (ribbed, hollow corkscrews)
1 pound Italian bulk sweet sausage
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
12 crimini mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 (10-ounce) sack, 2 1/2 cups, shredded Italian 4 cheese blend
1 can diced tomatoes, drained well
1 teaspoon hot sauce , optional
1/2 cup Parmesan, a couple of handfuls

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta to a chewy al dente, about 8 minutes.

In a nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain cooked crumbles on paper towel lined plate. Return pan to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and mushrooms. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms are lightly golden.

Preheat broiler to high.

To mushrooms, add flour and stir, cooking 2 minutes. Whisk in stock, then stir in cream. Bring cream to a bubble, then stir in 2 cups of 4 cheese blend. When cheese has melted into sauce, add tomatoes. When sauce comes to a bubble, remove from heat and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce if desired.

Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta, transfer to baking dish, casserole or oven safe serving platter. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of 4 cheese blend and the grated Parmesan over the top and brown under hot broiler.

Side note from Melody: This is my favorite mac and cheese recipe and I have tried approximately 192.  It is so delicious and is officially on the menu for our next Monday Night Football dinner.

Jessie is the mother of two sweet kids and the author of Bites, a recipe blog that will make your mouth water.  Make sure to follow Bites on Facebook so you don’t miss a single recipe.

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