Meat Lovers

Italian Sausage Mac and Cheese

Like mozzarella, Italico is a mild, slightly sweet and tangy semi-soft cheese that turns irresistibly gooey when it melts. It was destined for macaroni and cheese, and blends perfectly with the sausage and peppers combination.

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Servings: 6


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound hot fennel Italian sausage, removed from the casing
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups Wisconsin Italico cheese, rind removed and grated
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  •   Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 9×13-inch baking dish with butter.

In large skillet over medium-high heat, warm olive oil. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Add sausage and cook for 8-10 minutes or until browned all over and no longer pink. Add red bell pepper and cook 2 minutes until softened.

Cook pasta in salted water, about 2 minutes short of being fully cooked; it will finish cooking in oven. Drain cooked pasta, but do not rinse.

Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour. Gradually add milk, whisking continuously until it reaches boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until thick and bubbly.

Add cooked sausage and pepper mixture, Italico cheese, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, basil and parsley to cream sauce. Stir well. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden brown and cheese sauce is bubbling around edges.

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Semi-soft and semi-hard cheese, like Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella, should be very cold for easy grating.