When I was putting together our meal plan a couple of weeks ago, I asked the guys in my life for a little help, since I was feeling uninspired (and, also, way too busy to put a lot of time into the menu). Both of my boys requested mac and cheese, and while I knew they’d be perfectly content with the boxed stuff, I thought I was high time I created a new mac and cheese recipe. It’s been awhile since I did that.
Slowly, it started coming together in my mind.
An Italian version of macaroni and cheese, which just may be one of the best recipes I’ve created yet.
We all absolutely loved this version of mac and cheese. With all of the additions listed above, plus a little bit of wine in the cheese sauce, it was so luxurious and special – a creamy, cheesy, flavorful delight. Use whatever Italian meat you’d like for this recipe; sausage, pepperoni, pancetta, or prosciutto would all be absolutely delicious in this. I just made this on Sunday night, and I’m already sharing it with you – which should tell you a little something about just how delicious it really is.
Italian Macaroni and Cheese
12 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
4 ounces Genoa salami, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1. Cook penne in boiling salted water according to package directions; drain.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Cook until tomatoes are bursting, about 15 minutes.
3. While tomatoes are roasting, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and salami and cook until onion is softened. Add garlic; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add flour and stir until the ingredients are coated and the mixture is bubbling, about 1 additional minute.
4. Stir in wine and cook until reduced. Stir in chicken stock and milk. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat. Stir in cheese until melted, then add the pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Combine penne, roasted tomatoes, and cheese sauce. Serve immediately.