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Rachael Ray's Italian Mac and Cheese Recipe

From old Italian dishes to delicious cakes and cookies, I absolutely love cooking.

Italian mac and cheese, ready to be eaten.

Italian mac and cheese, ready to be eaten.

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.

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

40 min

21 min

1 hour 1 min

Serves six people.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta just to al dente, about 8 minutes
  2. 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.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. If you like, serve with a tossed salad on the side.

Please Vote

Substitutes

  • 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.

Comments

Rachel L Alba (author) from Every Day Cooking and Baking on July 19, 2017:

Hi Debangee, thanks for visiting and commenting. I appreciate it.

Blessings to you.

DEBANGEE MANDAL from India on July 19, 2017:

This looks super yummy. I'll try it soon.

Rachel L Alba (author) from Every Day Cooking and Baking on July 13, 2017:

Hi Cynthia, I'm so happy this recipe made you at least want to try it. lol So nice to hear from you. Thanks for the visit and comment.

Blessings to you.

Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on July 13, 2017:

Another way to jazz up mac and cheese. I must be one of the few people on earth who only tolerates it, but this looks like it goes in the category of "must try." Thanks for sharing this recipe. Take care.

Rachel L Alba (author) from Every Day Cooking and Baking on July 12, 2017:

Hi Jackie, How fun your comments and ideas always are. I agree about the hot sauce. I actually put it in the melted butter when I'm eating steamed clams. The tomatoes I used are crushed tomatoes but since the heavy cream is in this recipe, it actually makes the sauce pink like vodka sauce. I think I'll post that recipe too some day. Thanks for stopping by.

Blessings to you.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on July 12, 2017:

I love Rachel Rays recipes and I bet this would be delicious!

I can't see the tomatoes, can you taste them? I mean I love mac and cheese and mac and tomatoes so it would be like blending the two and I know would be so good and I know it is unbelievable but guess what I have in the fridge that has to be fixed tomorrow? A big pack of white mushrooms!

I used to watch Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals every day! That was so much fun whether I made them or not.

I am not into hot sauce much either but just a little can really add a good flavor. I discovered that using it on chicken for nuggets. So I will try a dash! Thanks!!!

Rachel L Alba (author) from Every Day Cooking and Baking on July 12, 2017:

Hi Linda, always so nice to hear from you. Thanks for visiting. I appreciate it.

Blessings to you.

Rachel L Alba (author) from Every Day Cooking and Baking on July 12, 2017:

Hi Peggy, Thank you for your comment and for visiting. This amount makes enough for at least 6 people. I had to freeze some for another day.

Blessings to you.

Rachel L Alba (author) from Every Day Cooking and Baking on July 12, 2017:

Hi Fern, Thanks so much, I appreciate your comment.

Blessings to you.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 12, 2017:

This sounds like a very tasty meal. It looks filling, too. You always have great recipes to share, Rachel.

Peggy Woods on July 12, 2017:

This sounds like a hearty version of good old macaroni and cheese. I have often added vegetables to mine to make it a bit more healthy. Your version with an added salad makes it more of a complete meal.

Fern Bailey from Michigan on July 12, 2017:

Oh my! That looks and sounds amazing!

Rachel L Alba (author) from Every Day Cooking and Baking on July 11, 2017:

Hi Ryan. Nice to hear from you. I appreciate your visit and comment. Let me know how you like it.

Blessings to you.

Rachel L Alba (author) from Every Day Cooking and Baking on July 11, 2017:

Hi Kristen. Thank you for visiting and the nice comment. One of the nice things about recipes is you can substitute just about anything and make it your own.

Blessings to you.

Ryan from Louisiana, USA on July 11, 2017:

This is definitely a dish that is right up my alley. Thank you for sharing. I will have to try to make this.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on July 11, 2017:

This looks delicious Rachel. I'm not a big fan of hot sauce either. I would love to try it with crimini mushrooms. Maybe I would swap the ground beef or Italian sausage with ground chicken, turkey or TVP.