Sunday, January 23, 2022
HomeHealthy FoodItalian Mac and Cheese {Simple Weeknight Dinner} –

Italian Mac and Cheese {Simple Weeknight Dinner} –

This Italian Mac and Cheese recipe combines two of meals’s best presents—pizza and macaroni and cheese—right into a single casserole of melty, gooey delight.

Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese in a casserole dish

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With three totally different sorts of cheese and any of your favourite pizza toppings, this Italian mac is a shoo-in on the spot household favourite.

It will likely be welcomed with equal enthusiasm from each the youngsters and adults eating at your desk (identical to Hen Alfredo Bake and Zucchini Pizza Boats, that are two different household favorites).

It’s additionally proof that kid-approved recipes don’t must be bland, deep-fried, or served with a facet of ketchup.

A pan of baked penne Italian mac and cheese

Spicy Italian mac and cheese is the place our Velveeta-loving inner-kid and healthy-lifestyle-loving grownup intersect.

  • It has all of the creamy consolation we crave when consuming mac and cheese, however is considerably lightened up and crammed with complete wheat pasta, lean protein, and recent veggies.
  • Favourite pizza toppings reminiscent of pepperoni, black olives, and bell peppers fill this straightforward loaded mac and cheese with Italian flare and provides it on the spot eye enchantment.


Can’t get sufficient mac and cheese? Me both! Don’t neglect to take a look at The Properly Plated Cookbook the place I share my recipe for Final Creamy Mac and Cheese 4 Methods.

A serving of Italian macaroni and cheese on a plate with greens

5 Star Evaluation

“That is completely scrumptious!! Undoubtedly a keeper recipe.”

— Christine —

Methods to Make Italian Mac and Cheese

Three sorts of cheese, bell peppers, black olives, and lean turkey pepperoni coat tender al dente complete wheat pasta for a comforting (but wholesome) Italian mac and cheese bake.

The Elements

  • Entire Wheat Pasta. My means of constructing any pasta dish (like this Eggplant Pasta) healthy-ish with added fiber, iron, and complete grain goodness.

Substitution Tip

I opted to make Italian mac and cheese with penne as a result of that’s what we had readily available, however you’ll be able to swap it for any quick pasta form. Strive Italian mac and cheese with shells, rotini, fusilli, or cavatappi.

  • Onion + Garlic. For slightly zip, zing, and chunk.
  • Bell Peppers. I really like the delicate crunch tender-crisp bell peppers lend this dish (and this well-liked Stuffed Pepper Casserole).
  • Canned Tomatoes. Add moisture and pizza-riffic tomato taste.
  • Black Olives. Pepper the pasta with further antioxidants, vitamin E, fiber, and iron. Although in case you aren’t into them, be at liberty to omit.

Market Swap

Be at liberty to swap in or add different veggies of your selection. Consider this Italian mac and cheese like pizza mac and cheese and customise it to fit your tastes.

  • Butter + Flour. Come collectively to type a roux that thickens the tacky pasta sauce.
  • Milk + Half-and-Half. I mixture of milk and half-and-half provides richness and creaminess to the sauce with much less fats and fewer energy than heavy cream.
  • Greek Yogurt. My secret to including much more creaminess and a slight tang to this straightforward Italian mac and cheese (in addition to this Avocado Pasta).
  • Italian Cheese. A mixture of melty mozzarella, flavorful Fontina, and aged Parmesan make for the BEST baked Italian mac and cheese sauce.

Substitution Tip

The very best cheeses for mac and cheese are melty and gooey. I additionally like so as to add a tough cheese for saltiness and punch.

For this recipe, Mozzarella is vital, however you might swap the Fontina for an additional melty Italian cheese, reminiscent of Provolone. The Parmesan might be swapped for an additional aged arduous cheese like Asiago or Romano.

  • Pepperoni. To maintain issues lighter, I like to make use of turkey pepperoni on this Italian mac and cheese recipe, however you possibly can use common pepperoni in case you choose.

Substitution Tip

In the event you’re not a fan of pepperoni, attempt making Italian mac and cheese with sausage by stirring in 1/2 pound of cooked floor Italian sausage. Select a rooster or turkey Italian sausage to chop fats and energy.

  • Pink Pepper Flakes. Add slightly or quite a bit. Modify the quantity to fit your household’s tolerance for spice.
  • Oregano. Its aroma calls to thoughts your favourite childhood pizza joint.
A spoon scooping a cheesy serving of Italian mac and cheese

The Instructions

  1. Prepare dinner and drain the pasta till nearly al dente. Put aside.
sauteeing bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes in a large pot with a spoon
  1. Mix the onion, crimson and inexperienced bell pepper, and drained tomatoes in a skillet and sauté till crisp-tender.
  2. In a big pot, make the sauce.
adding cheese and greek yogurt to a rich homemade italian mac and cheese sauce
  1. Stir within the spices, then the Greek yogurt, mozzarella, and fontina.
coating tender pasta with a homemade pizza mac and cheese sauce
  1. Add within the cooked pasta.
stirring in pepperoni into Italian mac and cheese
  1. Roughly chop 2/3 of pepperoni and stir into the pasta combination.
homemade italian mac and cheese in a baking dish topped with shredded mozzarella and pepperonis ready for the oven
  1. Switch the pasta right into a greased 9×13 baking dish, then prime with olives, remaining pepperoni, and Parmesan.
  2. Bake Italian mac and cheese for 20 minutes at 350 levels F, till scorching and bubbly. ENJOY!

Storage Ideas

  • To Retailer. Leftover Italian mac and cheese will preserve within the fridge for as much as 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Heat in a 350 diploma F oven, coated with foil, till heated by.
  • To Freeze. Italian mac and cheese could also be frozen, well-wrapped, for as much as two months. Defrost in a single day within the fridge earlier than warming.

What to Serve with Italian Mac and Cheese

Really helpful Instruments to Make this Recipe

  • Casserole Dish. This 9×13 baking dish is my go-to for casseroles, baked pasta, and extra.
  • Dutch Oven. An on a regular basis kitchen important no house prepare dinner ought to be with out.
  • Field Grater. Grating cheese from the block is one of the best ways to realize a superbly easy and silky do-it-yourself mac and cheese sauce.

The Greatest Colander

I recognize the dimensions selection on this 3-colander set. Made with sturdy chrome steel, it additionally has sturdy toes for stability in your counter.

A pan of baked penne Italian mac and cheese

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Depart a score beneath within the feedback and let me understand how you preferred the recipe.

Pizza AND mac and cheese for dinner? I believe my inside child simply did a cartwheel.

Often Requested Questions

Can I Make Italian Mac and Cheese Gluten Free?

I’ve not tried making this recipe gluten free so it will be an experiment. You would wish to decide on your favourite gluten-free pasta instead of the entire wheat pasta and choose a trusted gluten free flour various to thicken the sauce.

Can I Make Vegetarian Italian Mac and Cheese?

You may make this Italian mac and cheese vegetarian by merely omitting the pepperoni from the recipe. You would additionally swap it for a vegan pepperoni in case you want to retain the salty spiciness the pepperoni lends to the dish.

What Does Entire Wheat Pasta Style Like?

Entire wheat pasta has a barely nuttier taste than conventional pasta. It’s my favourite solution to sneak in slightly further fiber and complete grain goodness into conventional pasta recipes.

Italian Mac and Cheese Video

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  • 12 ounces complete wheat pasta noodles (reminiscent of rigatoni or penne)
  • 1 tablespoon further virgin olive oil
  • 1 giant yellow onion diced
  • 1 inexperienced bell pepper diced
  • 1 crimson bell pepper diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14 ounces) drained
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups non-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon crushed crimson pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated fontina cheese
  • 3 ounces turkey pepperoni slices (about 50 slices)
  • 1/4 cup pitted black olives chopped
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  • Convey a big pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta to water and prepare dinner till 1 or 2 minutes earlier than al dente, based on bundle instructions. It should not be fully crunchy, however ought to nonetheless be slightly too agency to eat since it should proceed to prepare dinner within the oven. Drain and put aside.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and evenly butter 9×13-inch baking dish.

  • In a Dutch oven or giant, deep sauté pan, warmth olive oil over medium-high. Sauté onion, crimson bell pepper, and inexperienced bell pepper for two minutes; add drained tomatoes and proceed to prepare dinner till onion and peppers are crisp-tender and tomato cooking liquid has thickened and largely evaporated; about 5 minutes.

  • Add the butter. Sprinkle in garlic and flour and prepare dinner, stirring usually, till flour is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Progressively pour in milk, stirring continually, then half and half. Prepare dinner till sauce simmers and thickens; about 7 minutes. Take away from warmth and stir in crimson pepper flakes, salt, and oregano.

  • Let the combination cool for a minute or two, then stir within the Greek yogurt, mozzarella, and fontina.

  • Mix the sauce with the drained pasta. Stir to coat.

  • Roughly chop 2/3 of pepperoni. Stir into pasta combination, reserving the remaining 1/3 complete pepperoni.

  • Switch the pasta into the ready baking dish, then scatter olives, remaining pepperoni, and parmesan over prime. Bake till scorching and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let relaxation a couple of minutes earlier than serving.

  • TO STORE: Leftover Italian mac and cheese will preserve within the fridge for as much as 5 days.
  • TO FREEZEItalian mac and cheese could also be frozen, well-wrapped, for as much as two months. Defrost in a single day within the fridge earlier than warming.
  • TO REHEAT: Heat in a 350 diploma F oven, coated with foil, till heated by.


Serving: 1(of 8)Energy: 385kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 20gFats: 15gSaturated Fats: 7gPolyunsaturated Fats: 1gMonounsaturated Fats: 5gTrans Fats: 1gLdl cholesterol: 48mgPotassium: 404mgFiber: 6gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1155IUVitamin C: 37mgCalcium: 277mgIron: 1mg

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