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Creamy Pizza Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time:

45 MINS

Cook Time:

Serves:

8 Servings

Level:

About the Recipe

Ingredients

  • Salt

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half

  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature

  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded (about 3 cups)

  • 3 ounces Gruyere, shredded (about 1 cup)

  • 1/2 cup prepared marinara sauce

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, roughly chopped, and 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato oil

  • 3 ounces pepperoni, thinly sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Preparation

Step 1


Set an oven rack 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.


Step 2


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until it is al dente, about 6 minutes. Strain, reserving 1 3/4 cups of the pasta water. Set aside.


Step 3


Heat the half-and-half, oregano and crushed red pepper in a large saucepan over medium heat until the mixture just comes to a simmer. Continue simmering until the half-and-half is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Add the cream cheese and stir until melted. Whisk in the Cheddar and Gruyere until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.


Step 4


Add the macaroni and reserved pasta water to the saucepan and stir to combine. (The mixture will look very loose, but the pasta will suck up a lot of the sauce as it bakes.) Gently stir in the marinara sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and pepperoni and season with more salt if needed. Pour into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Toss the bread crumbs, Parmesan and sun-dried tomato oil together in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the macaroni and cheese. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the bread crumbs are lightly browned and crispy, about 10 minutes.





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