Rachael Ray's Italian Mac and Cheese Recipe
Thank You, Rachael Ray
I found this recipe in one of Rachael Ray's cookbooks. When I saw it, I thought, "Why didn't I think of that?" Such a simple idea and so good.
There are a number of different macaroni and cheese recipes now. Mac and cheese with lobster, with chicken, and with broccoli. I'm sure there are others, but I never thought of making it Italian. I guess because it's such an American dish.
So, thanks to Rachael Ray, we now have another version.
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound ziti or penne rigate
- 1 pound Italian bulk sausage
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 12 crimini or white button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 1/2 cups shredded Italian 4-cheese blend
- 1 small can crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta just to al dente, about 8 minutes
- In a nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain cooked crumbles on a paper-towel-lined plate. Return pan to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, garlic, and mushrooms. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes until mushrooms are lightly golden.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- 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 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 and transfer to a baking dish or pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese blend and the grated Parmesan over the top and brown for about 8 minutes in the oven, till hot and melted and bubbly.
- If you like, serve with a tossed salad on the side.
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- The only thing I omitted from her recipe was hot sauce. It's not something my husband can digest well, so I don't use it. But you can use it if you like. It called for 1 teaspoon of hot sauce or Tabasco Sauce.
- The recipe also calls for crimini mushrooms. Crimini mushrooms have a very distinct taste. So unless you are sure you like the taste, you can substitute white button mushrooms; in fact, the next time I make it, that is what I will do.
- Also, it calls for ground loose Italian sausage, but you can substitute ground beef, which will also taste really good.
Recipe of the Week: Two Stars
In my profile, I mentioned that my hobby is collecting recipes, and I make and rate them. I try to make one every week or so. If I give a recipe three stars, that means it's excellent, I wouldn't change a thing, and everyone loved it.
If I give a recipe two stars, that means it's really good and I liked it, but I did change one or two things. That was how this recipe went.
I changed the recipe by omitting the hot sauce, and the next time I make it, I would change the crimini mushrooms for white button mushrooms.
Other than that, this recipe is a really good recipe and a good one for the whole family.