Thursday, October 30, 2008

Italian Mac and Cheese

One more Rachel Ray. (It's not healthy... but it's good)

1 lb. ziti rigate, penne rigate or cavatappi (ribbed, hollow corkscrews)

1 lb. Italian bulk sweet sausage

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1 T. butter

3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped

12 crimini mushrooms, sliced

salt and pepper

2 T. all-purpose flour

1 c. chicken stock

1 c. heavy cream

1 (10 oz.) sack, 2 1/12 c. shredded Italian 4 cheese blend, available on dairy aisle

1 can diced tomatoes, well drained

1 t. hot sauce (recommended; Tabasco), otional

½ c. Parmesan, a couple of handfuls

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta to a chewy al dente, about 8 minutes.
In a nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain cooked crumbles on paper towel lined plate. Return pan to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and mushrooms. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms are lightly golden.
Preheat broiler to high.
To mushrooms, add flour and stir, cooking 2 minutes. Whisk in stock, then stir in cream. Bring cream to a bubble, then stir in 2 cups of 4 cheese blend. When cheese has melted into sauce, add tomatoes. When sauce comes to bubble, remove from heat and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce if desired.

Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta, transfer to a baking dish, casserole or oven safe serving platter. Sprinkle remaining ½ c. of 4 cheese blend and the grated Parmesan over the top and brown under hot broiler.