Give classic mac and cheese an update with smoky, spicy flavor

  • Sausage and Mushroom Mac and Cheese. Linda Gassenheimer

Tribune News Service
Published: 10/7/2016 2:37:32 PM

Adding sausage and mushrooms to this macaroni and cheese dish gives a new flavor to one of America’s favorite meals. It’s all cooked in one pot, even the macaroni. Smoked paprika gives the dish a smoky flavor and the cayenne pepper gives it a special zing.

Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion: Earthy opulence! Let’s try an opulent California viognier.

Helpful Hints:

To save preparation time, use fresh chopped onion found in the produce section of the market.

A quick way to slice scallions is to cut them with a scissors.

If water runs dry while cooking macaroni, add ½ cup warm tap water to the skillet.


Prepare ingredients.

Start macaroni cooking.

Microwave sausage and mushrooms.

Shopping List:

To buy: 1 package small elbow macaroni, 1 red onion, 1 package low-fat turkey sausage (6 ounces needed), 1/2 pound sliced portobello mushrooms, 1 carton cup nonfat ricotta cheese, 1 package reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1 bottle cayenne pepper, 1 bottle smoked paprika, 1 bunch scallions and 2 tomatoes.

Staples: Olive oil, fat-free and low-sodium chicken broth.


Yield 2 servings

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

¾ cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

½ cup water

4 ounces small elbow macaroni (about 1½ cups)

1 cup diced red onion

6 ounces low-fat turkey sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

½ pound sliced Portobello mushrooms (about 3 3/4-cups)

1 tablespoon olive oil

cup nonfat ricotta cheese

4 ounces reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese (1 cup), divided use

teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 cup sliced scallions (about 3 scallions)

2 tomatoes, sliced

Heat broth, water and macaroni in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and lower heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes.

While macaroni cooks, place sausage and mushrooms in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on high 5 minutes.

Drain excess mushroom liquids from the bowl. Set aside. When macaroni is ready, add onion to the skillet, cover and cook 3 minutes. The liquid should be absorbed and the macaroni cooked. Remove lid and cook a little longer if the liquid is not absorbed.

Mix oil, ricotta cheese, half the Cheddar cheese, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika together in a bowl. Add to the skillet and mix well to make sure it is evenly distributed.

Sprinkle remaining cheese and then scallions on top. Place sliced tomatoes over scallions. Heat over medium for 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Divide into 2 portions in the skillet and spoon onto two dinner plates and serve.

Per serving: 656 calories (27 percent from fat), 19.9 g fat (5.5 g saturated, 8.6 g monounsaturated), 75 mg cholesterol, 49.7 g protein, 71.3 g carbohydrates, 8.6 g fiber, 1128 mg sodium.

(Linda Gassenheimer is the author, most recently, of “Delicious One-Pot Dishes,” featuring 60 recipes designed to be stewed, braised, slow-cooked or steamed, each in a single pot. Her website is Follow her on Twitter @lgassenheimer. Email:

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy