Extra Cheesy Pizza Mac And Cheese Skillet Recipe

This extra cheesy pizza mac and cheese skillet recipe is about the most perfect meal a cheese lover could wish for. As Mashed recipe developer Patterson Watkins describes, it's "Everything you love about pizza AND  everything you love about mac & cheese, together in one bubbly gooey melty skillet." This comfort food mashup is a delicious take on the two foods, featuring loads of cheese, pepperoni, macaroni, and a tomato sauce topping to finish it off. 

"I definitely didn't hold back, no punches pulled, on creaminess, on cheesy-ness, on the number of roni," Watkins asserts. Indeed, with four types of cheese, this is a serious cheese-fest. "I wanted to imitate the flavors of a good Detroit-style pizza," she says, explaining that each variety brings something to the dish. Muenster infuses it with buttery notes, provolone adds sharpness and funk, mozzarella brings the creamy factor, and Parmesan adds a salty tang. 

Considering the pepperoni mac and cheese combo, it's fair to say you don't need much else to accompany this dish for a complete meal. Of course, veggies add freshness so Patterson suggests, "I would definitely balance this bad-boy mac with a crisp and vibrant side salad." If you're going all out with the carbs she adds, "I wouldn't be opposed to a bread stick — a good vessel for mopping and picking up those last cheesy morsels."

Gather the ingredients for this extra cheesy pizza mac and cheese skillet

For this recipe, you'll need elbow macaroni, butter, all-purpose flour, whole milk, heavy cream, grated mozzarella, grated provolone, grated muenster, and grated Parmesan. To season, get salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Don't forget sliced pepperoni, your favorite pizza sauce, and fresh chopped parsley to garnish.

Step 1: Cook the pasta

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package, drain, and rinse in cold water. Set aside.

Step 2: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Step 3: Melt the butter

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.

Step 4: Make a roux

Once the butter is melted, add the flour, and stir to combine the roux.

Step 5: Stir in the milk and cream

Add the milk and cream to the pot, whisk to combine, and bring to a simmer.

Step 6: Simmer the sauce

Simmer for 5-8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly.

Step 7: Add the cheeses

Reduce the heat to low and add 1 cup of mozzarella, ½ cup provolone, ½ cup muenster, and ¼ cup parmesan, working in batches and whisking until melted and combined.

Step 8: Whisk in seasonings

Once the cheese is melted, add the salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper, and half of the crushed red pepper flakes to the pot, and whisk to combine.

Step 9: Add the pasta

Add the cooked macaroni noodles to the pot and stir to combine with the cheese sauce.

Step 10: Add half to a skillet

Transfer half of the macaroni to a large skillet and spread it out in an even layer.

Step 11: Layer the pepperoni

Top the macaroni with half of the pepperoni.

Step 12: Add a layer of cheese

Top the pepperoni layer with half of the remaining cheeses, sprinkling evenly to cover.

Step 13: Add the remaining pasta

Add the remaining macaroni to the skillet, covering the layer of pepperoni and cheese.

Step 14: Add a layer of pepperoni

Top the skillet with the remaining pepperoni.

Step 15: Top with cheese

Top the final layer of pepperoni with the remaining cheese.

Step 16: Top the dish with sauce

Drizzle the dish with a runner of pizza sauce (or dollop the top with pizza sauce).

Step 17: Grease a piece of foil

Spritz a large sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray.

Step 18: Cover the skillet and bake

Cover the skillet, spritz side down, and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Step 19: Uncover and continue to bake

Remove the skillet from the oven, remove the foil, and return to the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese begins to caramelize and brown.

Step 20: Let the mac and cheese rest

Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.

Step 21: Garnish and serve the mac and cheese

Garnish with fresh parsley and the reserved crushed red pepper flakes before serving.

What other toppings can you add to a pizza mac and cheese skillet?

The beauty of this extra cheesy pizza mac and cheese skillet recipe is that you can customize it to your taste with assorted toppings — much like pizza. Patterson Watkins encourages experimenting with different add-ons and offers a few tips for success. "If you want to infuse some veggie toppings (mushrooms, peppers, spinach), just saute them first and drain." This is to avoid too much moisture, which she says, "might lead to soggy macaroni noodles or watery sauce." Plus, you'll get a bit of browning on the veggies before layering them in the skillet.

Meanwhile, meat lovers can load up on more than just pepperoni. Watkins suggests sausage and bacon and recommends cooking and draining off the oil before adding them to the skillet. There will still be plenty of flavor in the dish, but as she points out, "We don't want to infuse too much fat into our already rich mac and cheese."

What are some mac and cheese skillet hacks?

Making mac and cheese in a skillet is slightly different than preparing it in a baking dish, so Watkins provides some tips to ensure success. For starters, do not forget to spray the aluminum foil before placing it over the dish to cover. "The foil spritzing technique helps prevent the cheesy topping from sticking to the foil," she explains and adds, "There's nothing more heartbreaking than removing the foil and your entire cheesy layer comes off with it."

Depending on the size of your skillet, it will probably be quite full by the time you've finished assembling the pizza mac and cheese. Watkins warns that some filling might spill over. "Just to be safe (and potentially save you from having to clean up the oven after) you may want to place your skillet on a baking sheet to catch the drips," she recommends. 

For crispy cheese lovers, be sure to follow Watkins' hack and raise the oven temperature in the last 5 to 10 minutes to create a browned crust. "You can also opt for broiling, just stay nearby and keep an eye on your mac skillet in case it begins to burn." 

Extra Cheesy Pizza Mac And Cheese Skillet Recipe
5 from 23 ratings
With a rich roux sauce, four kinds of cheese, and layers of pepperoni and pizza sauce, this pizza mac and cheese skillet is the ultimate comfort meal.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
1
hour
Servings
8
Servings
pizza mac cheese skillet serving
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella, divided
  • 1 cup grated provolone, divided
  • 1 cup grated muenster, divided
  • ½ cup grated parmesan, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, divided
  • 1 cup sliced pepperoni, divided
  • 1 ½ cups pizza sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Directions
  1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package, drain, and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  3. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  4. Once the butter is melted, add the flour, and stir to combine the roux.
  5. Add the milk and cream to the pot, whisk to combine, and bring to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for 5-8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and add 1 cup of mozzarella, ½ cup provolone, ½ cup muenster, and ¼ cup parmesan, working in batches and whisking until melted and combined.
  8. Once the cheese is melted, add the salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper, and half of the crushed red pepper flakes to the pot, and whisk to combine.
  9. Add the cooked macaroni noodles to the pot and stir to combine with the cheese sauce.
  10. Transfer half of the macaroni to a large skillet and spread it out in an even layer.
  11. Top the macaroni with half of the pepperoni.
  12. Top the pepperoni layer with half of the remaining cheeses, sprinkling evenly to cover.
  13. Add the remaining macaroni to the skillet, covering the layer of pepperoni and cheese.
  14. Top the skillet with the remaining pepperoni.
  15. Top the final layer of pepperoni with the remaining cheese.
  16. Drizzle the dish with a runner of pizza sauce (or dollop the top with pizza sauce).
  17. Spritz a large sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray.
  18. Cover the skillet, spritz side down, and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.
  19. Remove the skillet from the oven, remove the foil, and return to the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese begins to caramelize and brown.
  20. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
  21. Garnish with fresh parsley and the reserved crushed red pepper flakes before serving.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 993
Total Fat 66.4 g
Saturated Fat 37.9 g
Trans Fat 1.2 g
Cholesterol 185.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 60.7 g
Dietary Fiber 3.1 g
Total Sugars 11.5 g
Sodium 1,152.1 mg
Protein 37.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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