“a heavenly combination of two of the most loved flavors”
How many nights have you thought about what’s better, pizza or mac & cheese? Maybe you even debated it with your foodie friends? I know I have thought about it long and hard, and then some while back, I found this recipe titled “Pizza Mac & Cheese,” and I was like, why hasn’t this occurred to me before!
Long story short, I experimented with it for a while until I found that sweet spot, between the two most popular meals, that makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
So, before I go and make it one more time, here’s the recipe.
Everything you’ll need for this recipe, except for the ingredients listed below, is one saucepan and an oven-safe skillet. It won’t take much time, as the whole prep and cooking time takes around 40 minutes, including the boiling time for the macaroni. So, let’s start cooking.
The first step is to prepare the macaroni. Boil 1 litre (4 ½ cups) of water in a large saucepan. Add a little bit of salt, olive oil, and the macaroni. Let them cook from around 8 to 11 minutes. Make sure to follow the instructions on the package because if you overcook them, they’ll become too soft, and they won’t hold up when you continue cooking them afterward.
When the pasta is done, retain one cup of the pasta water, while you drain the rest. Rinse them with cold water and set them aside.
The next step is to add 1 tsp of olive oil in the oven-safe skillet and let it heat for a few minutes over medium heat. Meanwhile, you can prepare the onion. Cut it into tiny pieces (a mandolin slicer makes this really easy) and add them to the skillet. Cook for one to two minutes until the onion becomes translucent.
In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 250°C (500°F), so that it’s ready when you’re done sauteing the meal.
When the onion is ready, add the butter and stir until it melts completely. While you continue to stir, slowly add the flour to create a roux. Now, I personally know how easy you can burn the roux, so keep stirring all the time. After a few minutes, pour in the milk and let it cook until it boils. Just make sure there’s no onion stuck at the bottom of the skillet. Mix everything well.
The next ingredients to add are the tomato sauce, the Italian seasoning, and the salt and pepper. It’s your choice whether you want to skip the seasoning or add something you prefer, it’s totally okay, even encouraged! I’m sure many people wouldn’t mind oregano, although I personally prefer to sprinkle just a little when I’m serving the dish.
Again, mix everything and then add the macaroni, only half of the pepperoni slices, and just a little over half (one cup) of the mozzarella cheese. Once everything is well combined, and the mozzarella is melted, you’ll feel just how creamy the whole mixture is.
If it’s too thick or dense for you, now it’s the time to use that cup of pasta water you reserved for this purpose. Pour the water really slowly as you can always make the meal more watery, but at this point, you can’t make it creamier. This is completely optional, of course, and depends on your personal preference.
Turn the stove off and set your skillet aside. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese (or cheddar) on top, then layer the rest of the pepperoni slices, and finally, scatter the rest of the mozzarella cheese over the pepperoni. Now, your mac and cheese pizza is ready for the oven. However, be careful not to leave it in for too long. If your oven is pre-heated, you’ll see the mozzarella on top melting and becoming brown in just 4-5 minutes – this is your sign to take it out.
It’s great if the cheese is a little brown here and there, but it shouldn’t be burned!
Finally, take the pizza slash mac and cheese out of the oven – can you smell it? Trust me, you’ll be completely taken over by that delicious smell, but don’t rush! It will be hard to taste anything if you burn your tongue. Let the meal cool for 15-20 minutes at room temperature while you prepare the table for dinner. If you have kids, this is not a meal that they’ll protest, so be ready for refill requests! Enjoy!
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- 1 box macaroni (ELBOWS)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion (minced)
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 ½ cups (375ml) whole milk
- 100g (4oz) of tomato sauce
- 1 ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar or parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 package pepperoni slices (~100g)
- A pinch of salt and pepper
- Cook the elbow macaroni in boiled water with a little salt and a few drops of olive oil for 8-11 minutes (depending on the package instructions).
- When cooking is complete, reserve one cup of pasta water. Drain the macaroni and rinse them with cold water. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 250°C (500°F).
- Take the skillet, add olive oil, and let it heat over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook for a minute or two, then add the butter. When it melts, stir in the flour to create a roux. Be careful not to burn it – stir all the time.
- Next, add the milk and let the mixture boil.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper (to taste).
- Finally, add one cup of the mozzarella cheese, macaroni, and half of the pepperoni slices. Mix everything well. If the sauce is too thick, use the pasta water to make it thinner.
- On top, sprinkle the parmesan cheese, one layer or pepperoni slices, and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Place the skillet in the oven until the cheese melts and starts to get brown (3-5 minutes).
- When cooking is complete, leave it for 15-20 minutes at room temperature to chill.