Sunday, February 24, 2008

Italian Mac and Cheese

Okay, say what you want about Rachael Ray, but she has with out a doubt changed the way many people think about cooking. America was (and still is) falling into becoming a fast food nation. She showed people how to make real food from real ingredients in a realistic amount of time. And she did it, for the most part, with out using processed box substitutes. So, while her face being plastered on anything that won't move is a little bit annoying and even though some of her food doesn't look appealing to me at all, I still think she has done something good. And I really think she did good with this recipe. Jesse and I both really enjoyed it.

Italian Mac and Cheese
(Source: Top 30- 30 minute meals : Comfort foods; Rachael Ray)

Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb ziti , penne or cavatappi
1 lb Italian sweet sausage
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
3-4 cloves garlic
12 crimini mushrooms
2 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream (I subbed half and half)
2 and 1/2 cups shredded Italian 4-cheese blend
1 can diced tomatoes well drained
1 tsp hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta just to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a non stick skillet brown and crumble sausage. Drain crumbles on a paper towel-lined plate. Return pant o heat and add evoo, butter, garlic and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms are lightly golden.

Preheat broiler to high (I skipped this part because I had something in the oven)

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 4 cheese blend. When cheese has melted into sauce add tomatoes. When sauce comes to a bubble, remove from heat and adjust seasoning, adding hot sauce, if desired.

Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta, transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and Parmesan over the top and brown under broiler. (Again, I skipped the browning part and just sprinkled with Parmesan before serving.)


  1. this looks really good! i agree w/you though.... while rachel ray herself is very annoying, i do enjoy a lot of her recipes.

  2. Totally agree with you! Rachael Ray kind of bugs and her recipes are just meh. But, at least she has people cooking at home and thinking about how they can make healthy home meals that are almost as easy (and much better) than drive thru.

    PS Love your blog! I found it through the foodie blog roll.

  3. This sounds really good, thanks for sharing.


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