How to Make Irresistible Italian-Style Mac and Cheese

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Christina Flores

· 2 min read

Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Additional Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Servings: 6


  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)

Steps to Cook:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the elbow macaroni and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, to create a roux.
  4. Slowly pour in the milk and heavy cream, whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, dried basil, and red pepper flakes (if using). Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  6. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, and provolone cheeses until they are melted and the sauce is smooth.
  7. Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir until the pasta is evenly coated.
  8. Transfer the mac and cheese mixture to a 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the panko breadcrumbs.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
  10. Remove the baked mac and cheese from the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.
  11. Garnish with the chopped fresh parsley before serving.

Cook’s Note:

  • For an extra cheesy twist, you can add an additional 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese to the sauce.
  • If you prefer a creamier texture, you can increase the amount of heavy cream to 1 1/2 cups and reduce the milk to 1 1/2 cups.
  • For a spicier version, you can increase the amount of red pepper flakes or add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the sauce.
  • Leftover baked mac and cheese can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

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About Christina Flores

Hi, I am Christina Flores, author of I'm passionate about creating delicious and nutritious recipes to help people lead healthier lives. Join me on this culinary journey as we explore the world of healthy eating together!