This recipe comes by request of my sister. After trying out my Spicy Bacon Mac and Cheese, her brain went into mac and cheese overdrive. (It’s a very common side effect after consuming tasty mouthfuls of ‘ronis oozing with cheese.) Moments after her first bite, I received a message which read, Italian Mac and Cheese…mozzarella, provolone, prosciutto, and roasted red peppers. Go! My sister’s wish is my command. So, away we went.
Just like with my Spicy Bacon Mac and Cheese, I started with a basic base of thickened milk; a roux made of 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of flour, then 2 cups of milk. Skim milk works perfectly fine for this step. You might as well save yourself the calories and fat where you can in this indulgent treat. To this basic thickened milk base, we’ll add the cheese. Here’s where you can have fun! For our Italian-style mac and cheese, I used a blend of smoked mozzarella, provolone, and parmigiano-reggiano. Mozzarella has got some major gooey-factor going on. Delicious! Finally, we’ll throw in a few extras; homemade roasted red peppers, prosciutto, julienned sun-dried tomatoes, and a little basil chiffonade.
Italian Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound Pasta
- 3 Tbsp Butter
- 3 Tbsp Flour
- 2 cups Milk
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, grated
- 1 cup Smoked Mozzarella, shredded*
- 7 slices Provolone
- Salt and Crushed Red Pepper
- 5-6 Basil Leaves, chiffonade
- 8-10 Sun-dried Tomatoes, julienned (thinly sliced)
- 1 Roasted Red Pepper, diced
- 5 slices Prosciutto, chopped
*You can substitute regular shredded mozzarella if smoked mozzarella is not available.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Strain and set aside. In a saucepan, combine butter and flour over medium heat. Cook for a couple minutes, until it forms a thin paste-like consistency. Add the milk and whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook for a few minutes until the milk thickens. Turn the heat down to low and add the cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted into the sauce. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a bit more milk. If the sauce is too thin, add more cheese. Season with salt and crushed red pepper. Pour the hot sauce over the cooked pasta and toss until evenly coated. Stir in the basil, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, and prosciutto. Garnish with a bit of extra basil and parmigiano-reggiano cheese. Serve immediately.