True Story (or so I’ve been told): Yellow cheese apparently doesn’t exist here in Italy. Yes, you heard it. The grocery store has a whole semi truck sized case of other cheeses, but the processed American kind? Nope, nowhere to be seen. Which of course has led to my tastebuds craving good ol’ American yellow mac and cheese. You know, the processed kind of course. The good old fashioned phrase, “wanting what you can’t have” is the story of my life over here. Craving mexican at 9am while walking to class? Yup, that happened Friday. Tastebuds know no time schedule for this girl.
Anyways, I had a special delivery of Kraft Mac & Cheese last week from home and was waiting for the appropriate time to indulge in such a luxury. A break from pizza, spaghetti and garlic pasta? Yes, please. So as I proceeded to cook up that bad boy, the anticipation grew. First time having mac in almost 4 months was the pathetic excitement of the day.
When the time came for the devouring, my roomie and I sat here staring at the bowls in front of us for a good minute. Seeing this bowl of madness was weird. After 4 months of only eating pasta with real toppings (cheese, fresh sauces), seeing the bright yellow color on the pasta was mind baffling. It didn’t feel right. It took us a few minutes to take a bite, and when we did, it still felt wrong. It tasted the same as when I made it at home, except this time, it tasted strange (if that makes any sense at all). I don’t really know how to describe it other than just saying it tasted fake.
So an idea came to me. Why not try to make mac and cheese with the cheeses here? One of my roommates tried it a few months back, but after a result of cottage cheese looking mac, we lost hope. So I decided to give it one more try….
Italian Mac & Cheese
A Italian and upscale classic to basic Shells & Cheese.
- 1 lb shell pasta cooked and drained
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk You may need a little extra if you want it runnier
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese grated
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
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Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter in the olive oil over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until it smells slightly nutty. It will turn darker, so don't worry if that happens. Whisk in the milk & heavy cream and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in mozzarella, 3/4 cup parmesan, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. Pour over the noodles and mix until combined. Pour into a greased square or 9x13 baking dish and bake for 20-30 minutes in the oven or until bubbling. Remove from oven. (If you prefer it more on the runny side, add a little more milk.) Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese & enjoy!
Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe! This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
Adapted from here.
Get ready for some dangerously cheesy pasta with this one. I can assure you that it tastes like the authentic Italian version. I’m going to savor these flava-flavs now, because I only have 2 more weeks here. So if you don’t hear from me, it’s because my days are consumed with homework, blog designing, packing, and online holiday shopping cram sessions. Because when it’s 70 degrees and sunny, I tend to forget that it’s December…Woops.
I totally relate to wanting what you can’t have. I traveled through Europe a few years ago when I was in high school, and I wanted good old fashioned southern sweet iced tea SOOOOO BAD. All they had was Coke, Fanta, or water. The first thing I had when I got home was a nice tall glass of tea!
This mac and cheese looks delicious. It seems pretty simple to make too. I’m going to have to give it a try!
Kelley Gilster says
This looks amazing! There is a great Italian restaurant that serves Italian mac & cheese and it is the best i’ve ever had. So excited to try this
Liz Brown says
Oh my. Every time I have real mac and cheese, I swear I’ll never eat the fake again. But I always do. What is wrong with me?
Yours looks and sounds amazing!
Chelsea Dawn says
This recipe looks so delicious! I will have to try it ASAP!
I can’t even handle this. For real. Here I sit eating pretzels and learning Italian. YUM!
I lived in France for a year so I know EXACTLY how you feel! This recipe seems like a good substitute and look SOOO DELICOUS! Thanks for sharing!
Eve Myers says
That looks amazing! Makes my mouth water! I have to try it!
Halie Renee says
Holy crap this sounds amazingly delicious. I pinned this immediately, and can’t wait to try it out myself!!