Rachael Ray's Italian Mac and Cheese Recipe

Updated on January 22, 2020
Rachel L Alba profile image

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. | Source

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 time: 40 min
Cook time: 21 min
Ready in: 1 hour 1 min
Yields: Serves six people.


  • 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


  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.

Photo Guide

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The ingredients.In the oven.Bubbly and hot.Italian mac and cheese, ready to be eaten.
The ingredients.
The ingredients. | Source
In the oven.
In the oven. | Source
Bubbly and hot.
Bubbly and hot. | Source
Italian mac and cheese, ready to be eaten.
Italian mac and cheese, ready to be eaten. | Source

Please Vote

Cast your vote for Italian Mac and Cheese


  • 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.

Questions & Answers


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      • Rachel L Alba profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel L Alba 

        2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

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

        Blessings to you.

      • Debangee Mandal profile image


        2 years ago from India

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

      • Rachel L Alba profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel L Alba 

        2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

        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.

      • Cyndi10 profile image

        Cynthia B Turner 

        2 years ago from Georgia

        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 profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel L Alba 

        2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

        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 profile image

        Jackie Lynnley 

        2 years ago from the beautiful south

        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 profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel L Alba 

        2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

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

        Blessings to you.

      • Rachel L Alba profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel L Alba 

        2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

        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 profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel L Alba 

        2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

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

        Blessings to you.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

      • profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        2 years ago

        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.

      • Tastefullywild profile image

        Fern Bailey 

        2 years ago from Michigan

        Oh my! That looks and sounds amazing!

      • Rachel L Alba profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel L Alba 

        2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

        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 profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel L Alba 

        2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

        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.

      • Fullerman5000 profile image

        Ryan Fuller 

        2 years ago from Louisiana, USA

        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 profile image

        Kristen Howe 

        2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        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.


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