Margherita Macaroni and Cheese


Warm, cheesy, Margherita Macaroni and Cheese recipe with the delicious flavors of tomato, basil and mozzarella.  It would be perfect for a fun appetizer, main course, or dish to bring to a party!

Italian Margherita Macaroni and cheese recipe for a party, appetizer, or vegetarian main course

I love this Margherita pizza version of mac & cheese. This may be because I’m Italian and I’m biased, but there truly is a great combination of flavors in this dish.  Also, I may have a slight obsession with wagon wheels pasta.  I’m a 5 year old at heart, what can I say?!

I ate so much mac ‘n cheese as a kid, and even well into my adult years….. and let’s just say that lot of it came from a box.  Shhhh!  Don’t judge 🙂  One of my favorite meals my mom made when I was growing up was when she went all out and made homemade baked macaroni and cheese.  It was even one of the very first meals I made on my own once I moved out of the house.  I felt like such a pro!  It’s just such great comfort food no matter which way you prepare it (have you tried the Cheez-It Mac & Cheese I posted a few weeks ago?) and I think it will always be my favorite meal of all time.

Italian Margherita Macaroni and cheese recipe for a party, appetizer, or vegetarian main course

Margherita Macaroni and Cheese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Serves: 4
Warm, cheesy, Margherita Macaroni and Cheese recipe with the delicious flavors of tomato, basil and mozzarella. It would be perfect for a fun appetizer, main course, or dish to bring to a party!
  • 8 ounces macaroni (wagon wheels, elbows, shells, etc.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil (or 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus extra for serving)
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
For sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375.
  2. Cook macaroni as directed on the package.
  3. While macaroni is cooking, prepare the sauce.
  4. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat.
  5. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant.
  6. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper and cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
  8. Boil and stir one minute. Set this sauce aside.
  9. Drain pasta and mix with the drained diced tomatoes.
  10. Place half of the macaroni in an ungreased 2-quart casserole dish.
  11. Sprinkle with half the salt, pepper, basil and cheese.
  12. Repeat with remaining macaroni, salt, pepper, basil and cheese.
  13. Pour sauce over macaroni.
  14. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  15. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer. Serve with fresh basil (optional).

Recipe source: adapted from Betty Crocker cookbook and


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These are a few of my favorite things: cooking, baking, Broadway musicals, cruises, Disney World, Christmas, thunderstorms, 80's and country music, and my favorite pastime has ALWAYS been baseball. Go Yankees!

33 Responses to “Margherita Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. March 6, 2014 at 1:56 AM #

    Ooh I agree this sounds wonderful and tasty. Plus it feels like it would be lighter than the traditional Mac and cheese. Great idea!

    • March 6, 2014 at 2:19 AM #

      It is much lighter!

  2. March 6, 2014 at 7:12 AM #

    I love these flavors! Great idea for mac and cheese!!

  3. March 6, 2014 at 8:37 AM #

    What a wonderful twist on mac and cheese. I definitely ate my share of boxed mac and cheese when I was a child. Love the wagon wheels. It’s funny how just changing the pasta shape can give the dish a whole new feel and taste!

  4. March 6, 2014 at 8:55 AM #

    We have a go-to mac and cheese recipe, but my husband said he prefers the box version (!!!). I’m looking for a new recipe to try, so I may make this for him!

  5. March 6, 2014 at 9:06 AM #

    I love the addition of tomatoes in this dish. I always think that m and c always needs a little zest up and little spice too. My boys are always putting cajun spice in theirs. Have a super weekend. BAM

  6. March 6, 2014 at 9:14 AM #

    This is silly, but I’ve never cooked wagon wheel pasta! I love how it looks in this dish! 🙂

  7. Val
    March 6, 2014 at 9:20 AM #

    What size can of diced tomatoes?

    • March 6, 2014 at 1:17 PM #

      I used a 14.5 oz can. Great question!

  8. March 6, 2014 at 9:52 AM #

    haha I love shaped pasta too! There’s something about it that is just so fun : ) And this sounds delicious – simple and not super heavy – definitely my kind of meal!

  9. March 6, 2014 at 10:17 AM #

    I love all the different pasta shapes. I think they make a dish more interesting 😀 This looks like a delicious dish. I love the Margherita flavors and combining them in a baked pasta is brilliant!

  10. March 6, 2014 at 11:06 AM #

    LOVE this idea! It sounds SO good! I’ll have to try it out on one of the days when I am having a major cheese craving 😉

  11. March 6, 2014 at 12:12 PM #

    Oh my gosh, wagon-wheel mac n’ cheese is my childhood favorite!! Gosh, now I really crave mac n’ cheese. Yum.

  12. March 6, 2014 at 12:45 PM #

    Haha – nothing wrong with being a kid at heart! Wagon wheels pasta is adorable!
    My daughter loves when I make homemade baked mac and cheese too – I gotta try adding basil and tomatoes to it next time – great dish Ashley – thanks for sharing

  13. March 6, 2014 at 1:50 PM #

    I adore the fact that you used wagon wheels pasta! Brings back memories of childhood.

    • March 7, 2014 at 2:01 AM #

      Awww thanks! There’s just something about those wagon wheels!

  14. March 6, 2014 at 2:25 PM #

    Lol my Italian bias may also come into play here but I don’t care-THIS LOOKS SO GOOD!!! The best way to take mac n cheese up a level!!!

    • March 7, 2014 at 2:00 AM #

      We can be biased together 😉

  15. March 6, 2014 at 3:47 PM #

    Love how you took the flavors of margherita and made a pasta dish!

    • March 7, 2014 at 2:00 AM #

      Thanks so much, Joelen!

  16. March 6, 2014 at 4:55 PM #

    I won’t tell about the boxed mac and cheese because I ate my fair share of it in high school and college! This however looks great! I need put mozzarella in my mac and cheese!

    • March 7, 2014 at 2:00 AM #

      It’s surprisingly something I’ve never done before, but it works great! Thanks, Susan!

  17. March 7, 2014 at 9:28 AM #

    Hey! Saw this on Instagram a few days ago and immediately felt hungry.. comfort food at its best..Macaroni & Cheese.. who doesn´t like it..?!? Happy weekend!! Xx

    • March 7, 2014 at 12:37 PM #

      Thanks, Johlene!! Happy weekend!!

  18. March 7, 2014 at 10:31 PM #

    Ashley, you are making me oh so hungry with this mac and cheese. It’s made up of pure happiness!

  19. March 11, 2014 at 10:03 AM #

    Mac and cheese is definitely one of my favorite comfort foods already, but I love the addition of basil and tomatoes. Nothing better than a fancy mac and cheese!

  20. Joe
    March 11, 2014 at 3:57 PM #

    Great looking recipe, I’ll try it this weekend! Kinda reminds me of Bruschetta (the pasta takes the place of the bread)

  21. March 14, 2014 at 9:55 AM #

    This looks like a fab way to dress up the typical mac and cheese Ashley! YUM!

  22. Amanda Williams
    April 17, 2015 at 11:17 PM #

    I love this dish. I made it late one night with a friend and we both completely loved it! It’s so tasty, however we used grape tomatoes in ours and cut the pieces small.

    • April 18, 2015 at 11:18 AM #

      Amanda, thank you for letting me know! I’m so glad you liked it!


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