Baked Italian Mac and Cheese

10 servings
40 min

This Baked Italian Mac and Cheese recipe combines two amazing things - Italian flavors and Mac and cheese!

This cheesy, delicious recipe is a great option for an easy weeknight meal for the whole family. This one is also going to be a hit for entertaining, because who doesn’t love Mac and cheese?!

Recipe Inspiration

As my website turns 2, I realized I had many pasta recipes, but didn’t have a Mac and cheese recipe! And that needed to change.


So instead of a normal Mac and Cheese recipe, I added my own twist. Italian sausage, plenty of parmesan, garlic Powder and Italian seasoning all taste amazing in this cheesy recipe.


And my favorite part? The Panko breadcrumbs that get perfectly crispy in the oven.

Baked Italian Mac and Cheese Ingredients

Here are the ingredients that you will need for this recipe:


  • Small pasta - I used shells, but you can also use elbows or farfalle.
  • Ground Italian sausage - You may use hot or mild, whichever is your preference.
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Whole milk
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Shredded parmesan cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Italian Parsley
  • Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Fresh Basil

Directions

First, cook your pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions. Make sure you salt your pasta water - it’s so important to flavor the pasta! When cooked, drain pasta and set aside.


Cook the Italian Sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. After this step, heat the oven to 400 degrees F.


Next, add 1 tbsp butter to the skillet you used for the sausage. Melt over medium heat. Add flour and stir well.


Once the flour and butter are combined, add milk and whisk until there are no crumps of flour. This should take about 2-3 minutes. This creates a roux sauce. This sauce is commonly the base for Mac and cheese. It helps keep thicken everything up and it the perfect base to add cheese to.


After you’ve made your roux, add in mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Add your seasonings, turn heat to low, and mix until everything is combined and the cheese is fully melted.


Add cooked pasta, Italian sausage, and some Italian parsley to the skillet. Mix well, then transfer Mac and cheese to a greased oven safe baking dish. Top with panko breadcrumbs and a few pats of butter.


Cook for 10 minutes. If desired, you can broil for a minute or two to get the breadcrumbs super crispy. Garnish with Italian parsley and fresh basil. Serve and enjoy your baked Italian Mac and cheese!

Baked Italian Mac and Cheese
Recipe details
  • 10  servings
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 35 Minutes Total time: 40 min
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb small pasta such as shells or elbows
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage hot or mild
  • 2 tbsp butter divided
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese divided
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley divided
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Handful Fresh basil for serving
Instructions

Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Cook Italian Sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove sausage from the pan and set aside.
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
A 1 tbsp butter to the skillet used for the sausage and heat over medium heat. Add flour and stir well.
When combined, add milk and whisk until there are no lumps of flour, about 2-3 minutes,
Add in mozzarella cheese, ½ cup parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Turn heat to low and mix until cheese is melted and everything is combined.
Add cooked pasta, cooked sausage, and 1 tbsp Italian parsley to the skillet. Mix well and transfer to a greased oven safe baking dish.
Top Mac and cheese with panko breadcrumbs and a few pats of butter.
Cook for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven.
Garnish with additional Italian parsley and fresh basil and serve.
Christina Musgrave | Tasting With Tina
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Comments
  • Vicki Hopkins Adkins Vicki Hopkins Adkins on Oct 04, 2021

    In the recipe, you state to add in 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, but you don't mention what to do with the other 1/2 cup. Add it to the top with the panko breadcrumbs and butter? Can't wait to try this dish! Thank you for the recipe!

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