Thursday, November 17, 2016
Super Simple Mac and Cheese Italian Style
Super Simple Mac & Cheese Italian Style is a go to recipe around here. With just 7 ingredients and 15 minutes you can have this fantastic dinner on the table. It is the ultimate left-over and weeknight dinner helper. This is my favorite recipe to add the left over turkey and veggies from Thanksgiving.
An absolute family favorite, I have been making this homemade Italian style mac and cheese for over 6 years. I originally shared this recipe with you when we first started our site and now (4 years later) have prepared it a several dozen more times and I have a lot of tips to add to the recipe so make sure you check out my notes on the recipe.
This stove-top macaroni and cheese is loaded with ooey gooey cheese and Italian spices. Obviously it is something we have eaten so many times that I don't need a recipe and I use this one as a base to create many different dinners.
Y'all ask so often what I fix when I don't have anything planned. Well, this happens more times than not so I have become a master at re-imagining leftovers. I guess I got that from my mom. She was a whiz at transforming left overs into a whole new dinner.
This recipe is the perfect last minute meal. It calls for ingredients that you have on hand all the time and then just add in whatever left overs your fridge holds and it becomes dinner. Precooked sausage, kielbasa, left over chicken, beef or turkey from Thanksgiving along with some left over veggies added at the end or frozen peas (added with the pasta) and you have yourself a fantastic two pot meal in under 20 minutes!!! Check the notes for more fantastic suggestions.
With love from our simple kitchen to yours.
RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM
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Check out some of our favorite fabulous mac and cheese recipes: Click on the image or the bold recipe title and it will open each one in a new tab.
Jack Daniel's Mac and Cheese is loaded with hickory smoked peppered bacon, tons of ooey gooey smoky cheese and a selection of spices to wake up all your senses. This is the mac and cheese of your dreams.
Beer Bacon Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. This restaurant quality recipe goes from prep to plate in just 25 minutes and will certainly make the Mac and Cheese Hall of Fame. I dare you to try and eat just one bowl.
One Skillet Meal: 20 Minute Cheese Lovers Mac and Cheese with Broccoli is the easiest and cheesiest macaroni and cheese ever! Toss in rotisserie or left over chicken and you have a whole meal that is a member of the clean plate club in just 20 minutes and all in one skillet!
Super Simple Mac & Cheese Italian Style
SERVES 6 | ACTIVE TIME 5 Min | TOTAL TIME 15 Min
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
1 pound dry mini penne pasta
8 ounces of Italian blend shredded cheese (*see below to make your own blend)
1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning (I prefer McCormick Tuscan Style Italian Seasoning)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, cook pasta according to package directions, to al dente. Drain pasta once it is cooked and set aside. Work on the next step while your pasta is cooking.
Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan over medium heat melt butter, add flour and Italian seasoning and whisk for about 2 minutes to cook out the 'flour-y' taste. Add milk and continue to whisk occasionally, allowing the mixture to thicken. Add cheeses and whisk until fully combined.
Pour cheese sauce over strained pasta and stir to combine. Sauce will thickens as it sits. Serve and enjoy!
DONNA'S NOTES: I do not use pre-shredded cheese as much as I used to. Now I use 4 ounces mozzarella and 4 ounces provolone (or 8 ounces mozzarella). I shred them and add them to the recipe in place of the cheese blend. From time-to-time I will add a little Romano, Asiago or Fontina into the mix. It depends on what I have in the house. But the essential part is to use at least 4 ounces of mozzarella in your blend.
Veggie ideas: When there is about 5-6 minutes left on your pasta cook time add 2 cups frozen peas or frozen broccoli (cover the pot to help it come back to a boil more quickly and remove the cover once boiling again). They will be done the same time the pasta is done and it will combine to make an incredible dinner. Another vegetable option is to stir in 3 cups fresh baby spinach, once the pasta and cheese sauce have been fully combined (at the end). It will be just wilted perfectly when it is time to serve.
Protein ideas: After you have drained your cooked pasta, add it back to the pan and add chopped left over turkey, chicken or rotisserie chicken to the hot pasta. Then pour the sauce over top. The heat from the pasta and the cheese sauce will warm the meat through and it will be ready to serve when the mac and cheese is ready. I have also used left over ground beef, burgers, rinsed and drained beans (navy, kidney or pinto are our favorites).
The possibilities are endless.
The Slow Roasted Italian
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