If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember this cheese sauce from last Wednesday. I started drooling while whipping up this Italian Mac & Cheese with Smoked Sausage, and that’s a good sign in this case. Six kinds of cheese with Italian seasoning and garlic should absolutely be made into a candle. Except I’m pretty sure I’d drool all the time over it, so maybe not. I can’t explain to you how good this cheese sauce smells while cooking and it’s a bajillion times better in taste. The best part is that it’s very easy to make. Boil your pasta and make the sauce while it cooks. Stir everything together and bake. Even the leftovers are crazy good…I should know because I’ve made this twice now and I’ve eaten it pretty much every day, sometimes twice, and I’m still not sick of it.
So, how’s it taste?
I’m sure you can tell I really liked this. The garlic and Italian seasoning make this so good. I love the change up in using an Italian cheese blend compared to regular mac and cheese. Mozzarella, smoked provolone, fontina, romano, asiago, and parmesan make up the six and this cheese lover has no complaints! You could certainly shred all those yourself (and I’m sure the flavor would be even more amazing), but I used Sargento’s blend. They do make a reduced fat blend, but it only had four cheeses, so I splurged for the full fat. No regrets!
I used turkey smoked sausage instead of the real thing to cut down on the grease. I find the real stuff is too greasy for my taste, unless I boil it first, and I wanted to avoid that extra step. Butterball makes a fantastic turkey smoked sausage, and it worked really well in this dish. This would be a perfect dish for an easy weeknight meal or to take to a potluck. Your guests will love it!
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 min
Total Time: 60 min
Italian Mac & Cheese with Smoked Sausage
3 cups uncooked cavatappi (corkscrew) pasta (about 10 oz.)
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning, divided
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups milk
2 cups shredded Italian-style cheese blend (8 oz.)
1/4 cup, plus 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
8 oz. smoked sausage, sliced
1. Heat oven to 350F. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.
2. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, 1/2 tea-spoon Italian seasoning, pepper, and garlic. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in Italian cheese blend and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese until melted.
3. Gently stir pasta and sausage into cheese sauce. Pour into ungreased 3-quart casserole. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until bubbly.