This Italian Macaroni and Cheese The recipe brings two of food’s best gifts—pizza, macaroni and cheese—into a single casserole for a melty, gooey delight.
Served with three different cheeses and any of your favorite pizza toppings, this pasta is a family favorite.
It’s also proof that kid-approved recipes don’t have to be bland, fried, or served with ketchup.
Spicy Macaroni and Cheese is the meeting point for our Velveeta-loving inner child and healthy lifestyle-loving adults.
- It has all the creamy comfort we crave when eating macaroni and cheese, but it’s noticeably bland and full of whole-wheat pasta, lean protein, and fresh veggies.
- Favorite pizza toppings like pepperoni, black olives, and bell peppers fill this easy macaroni and cheese dish with Italian torches for an immediate eye-catcher.
Not enough macaroni and cheese? Me too!don’t forget to check Plated Recipes I share my recipe for the Ultimate Creamy Macaroni and Cheese 4 Ways here.
5 star review
“This is absolutely delicious!! Definitely a keeper recipe.”
— Kristin —
How to Make Macaroni and Cheese
Three cheeses, bell peppers, black olives, and lean turkey pepperoni coat tender and chewy whole-wheat pasta for a cozy (but healthy) macaroni and cheese bake.
- whole wheat pasta. My way of making any pasta (like this Eggplant Pasta) healthy with added fiber, iron and whole grains.
- onion + garlic. A little zip, tinkle, bite.
- Bell peppers. I love the crunchy bell peppers in this recipe (this one is a hit) Stuffed Pepper Casserole).
- canned tomatoes. Adds moisture and pizza-like tomato flavor.
- black olives. Pepper pasta with extra antioxidants, vitamin E, fiber, and iron. Though feel free to omit them if you don’t like them.
- butter + flour. Comes together to form a meat sauce that thickens cheesy pasta sauce.
- milk + half and half. I mixed the milk with half the milk to add richness and creaminess to the sauce with less fat and calories than heavier cream.
- greek yogurt. My secret is to add more creaminess and light flavor to this Easy Macaroni and Cheese (and this Avocado Pasta).
- Italian cheese. Melted mozzarella, delicious Fontina, and aged Parmesan combine to make the best baked macaroni and cheese sauce.
- pepperoni. To make things easier, I like to use turkey pepperoni in this Italian Macaroni and Cheese recipe, but you can use regular pepperoni if you prefer.
- red pepper flakes. Add a small amount or a large amount. Adjust the amount to suit your family’s tolerance to spices.
- oregano. Its aroma is reminiscent of your favorite childhood pizzeria.
- Cook and drain pasta until almost very chewy. shelved.
- Add the onions, red and green bell peppers, and drained tomatoes to the skillet and sauté until crisp and tender.
- In a large pot, make the sauce.
- Add the spices, then add the Greek yogurt, mozzarella, and fontina.
- Add cooked pasta.
- Roughly chop 2/3 pepperoni and stir into pasta mixture.
- Transfer pasta to a greased 9×13 baking sheet, then top with olives, remaining pepperoni, and Parmesan cheese.
- Bake the macaroni and cheese at 350°F for 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Please enjoy!
- storage. Leftover macaroni and cheese will keep for up to five days in the refrigerator.
- reheat. Heat in a 350°F oven, covered with foil, until heated through.
- freeze. Macaroni and cheese can be frozen and packaged for up to two months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before heating.
Recommended tools for making this recipe
- casserole. This 9×13 baking pan is my go-to for casseroles, baked pasta, and more.
- dutch oven. A must for the everyday kitchen, no home cook.
- box grater. Grated cheese from the block is the best way to get the perfect smooth homemade macaroni and cheese sauce.
I appreciate the size variation of this 3 colander set. Made from durable stainless steel, it also has sturdy feet for stability on your counter.
Pizza, macaroni and cheese for dinner? I think my inner child just did a cartwheel.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have not tried making this recipe gluten free so this will be an experiment. You’ll need to choose your favorite gluten-free pasta in place of whole-wheat pasta, and choose a trusted gluten-free flour substitute to thicken the sauce.
You can make this pasta and cheese vegan by simply omitting the pepperoni from the recipe. You can also swap it out for vegan pepperoni if you’d like to retain the salty-spiciness that pepperoni imparts to your dish.
Whole-wheat pasta is slightly more nutty than traditional pasta. This is my favorite way to add a little extra fiber and whole grains to traditional pasta recipes.
Macaroni and Cheese Video
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- 12 ounce Whole Wheat Pasta (eg rigatoni or penne)
- 1 spoon Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 rhubarb onion diced
- 1 Green pepper diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 were able diced tomatoes (14 ounces) drained
- 3 spoon unsalted butter
- 3 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 Cup skim milk
- 1/4 Cup Half and half
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 Cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/2 Cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 Cup Freshly grated fontina cheese
- 3 ounce Turkey Pepperoni Slices (about 50 pieces)
- 1/4 Cup pitted black olives Chopped
- 1/3 Cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta to water and cook 1 or 2 minutes before al dente, according to package directions. It shouldn’t be completely crunchy, but it should still be a little too hard to eat as it will continue to cook in the oven. Drain and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly butter a 9×13-inch baking pan.
In a Dutch oven or a large, deep wok, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, red bell peppers, and green peppers 2 minutes; add drained tomatoes and continue to cook until onions and peppers are crisp and tomato cooking liquid thickens and mostly evaporates; about 5 minutes.
Add butter. Sprinkle with garlic and flour and cook, stirring frequently, until flour is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Gradually pour in the milk, stirring constantly, then half and half. Cook until sauce boils and thickens; about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in red pepper flakes, salt, and oregano.
Let the mixture cool for a minute or two, then add the Greek yogurt, mozzarella, and fontina.
Combine the sauce with the drained pasta. Stir well.
Roughly chop 2/3 pepperoni. Stir into pasta mixture, reserving remaining 1/3 of whole pepperoni.
Transfer pasta to prepared baking sheet, then sprinkle olives, remaining pepperoni, and Parmesan cheese on top. Bake until hot and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Rest for a few minutes before serving.
- storage: Leftover macaroni and cheese will keep for up to five days in the refrigerator.
- freeze: Macaroni and cheese can be frozen and packaged for up to two months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before heating.
- reheat: Heat in a 350°F oven, covered with foil, until heated through.
Serve: 1(8 in total)Calories: 385kcalcarbohydrate: 41Gprotein: 20Gfat: 15GSaturated fat: 7GPolyunsaturated Fats: 1GMonounsaturated Fats: 5GTrans fat: 1Gcholesterol: 48mgPotassium: 404mgfiber: 6Gsugar: 9GVitamin A: 1155IUVitamin C: 37mgcalcium: 277mgiron: 1mg
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