It has been 15 years since I first tried Rachel Ray’s Italian Mac ‘n Cheese. A friend from my mom’s group brought me the dish after I had my third child. It was part of a meal train we put together to help out moms for the first couple of weeks after giving birth. Of the meals I received, this one was by far my favorite. I asked my friend for the recipe and for the past 15 years I have been modifying this recipe. I believe I have perfected the recipe now, because it is always a hit at my home. I am now ready to share with you my Better than Rachel Ray’s Italian Mac ‘n Cheese recipe.
Please feel free to compare my recipe with Rachel Ray’s Italian Mac & Cheese. My recipe is better because it has onions and because it has more sauce. The sauce in my recipe is also more flavorful due to the addition of more tomatoes and seasoning.
Italian Mac ‘n Cheese Recipe
1 Pound of Penne pasta
1 Pound bulk Sweet Italian sausage
12 Cremini Mushrooms (1 package), sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 Cup flour
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can of each: chicken broth, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
8 ounces of whipping cream
8 ounces of Italian Blend shredded cheese
1/2 Cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain and pour into a pyrex baking dish.
Brown the sausage, drain and set aside. Add the olive oil to the pan and sauté the onion until slightly softened. Add the mushrooms, garlic and butter. Toss to evenly coat, add salt, and continue to sauté until the mushrooms begin to soften. Stir in the flour until evenly coated. Slowly add the chicken broth, add a little and stir until the sauce thickens, then add more and stir. Repeat this process until the whole can is incorporated. Add the undrained can of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and pepper. Mix until well combined and return to a simmer. Return the drained sausage to the pan and add half of the shredded Italian blend cheese, mix until melted. Add the whipping cream and mix constantly until the sauce returns to a simmer, then remove from heat.
Pre heat the broiler to high. Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix. Top with remaining Italian blend cheese. Place the dish under the broiler for 3-5 min until the cheese in lightly browned. Serve with parmesan cheese.
If you like the recipe, you may also like my Better than Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana.
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