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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.

This Italian mac and cheese is ready to be eaten.

This Italian mac and cheese is 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.


  • 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 the cheese has melted into the 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 the 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.


  • 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 will change the crimini mushrooms to white button mushrooms.

Other than that, this recipe is a really good recipe for the whole family.