Welcome to the new and improved Carano's Cucina. I make a lot of kick ass food and go out to some amazing restaurants. Take a look around and make yourself at home :)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tuscan Mac and Cheese

I've talked about the deliciousness of Tuscan Mac and Cheese on my message board, so if you go there, you've probably already heard about this dish. It bears repeating because it is SO good! In fact, the first time I made it, Nick's exact words were, "You know, if you want to make this again, I won't object." We love it, Mom loves it, even Grandma loves it. I am posting it with my tweeks to the original recipe.

8 ounces sweet or hot Italian sausage
1 lb.
gemelli or cavatappi, cooked and drained
8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened
ounces crusty Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz.)
tablespoons butter
tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
teaspoon salt
cups milk
ounces shredded Asiago, Parmesan, or Romano cheese (1/2 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Remove casings, if present, from sausage. In a skillet cook and crumble sausage; drain. In a very large bowl combine sausage, cooked pasta, cream cheese, bread cubes, olives, and mozzarella cheese. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, thyme and salt. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Pour sauce over pasta mixture. Stir gently.

3. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart casserole. Bake, covered, for 35 minutes. Uncover; top with Asiago cheese. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes more or until heated through. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with additional cheese, if desired.

I know, this sounds like fat city! But there are so many ways you can lighten up this recipe. Start out by using turkey sausage. Use light cream cheese. I wouldn't try using fat free. But light works nicely. Use skim milk. I've made it both ways... full fat and lightened up and it's delicious both ways. I bet if you try this, it will become one of your go to meals too.

1 comment:

Diane said...

Thank goodness this recipe is here. The boys and I were talking about what to have for dinner, and wanted Tuscan Mac and Cheese. We somehow lost our copy of the recipe. I went to Facebook to post you an EMERGENCY HELP message, but you weren't logged on... (Ummm, don't you know you are supposed to be there when I need you? LOL) Anyway, then I thought about your blog! YEAH, we can have Tuscan Mac and Cheese tonight! We have all the ingredients... Double yeah! Glad you keep this blog!!!