The Surprising Ingredient TikTok's Pasta Queen Adds To Her Mac And Cheese

Move over, Giada De Laurentiis and Lidia Bastianich, because there is a new Italian taking over the internet with her cooking know-how. Known on TikTok as The Pasta Queen, Nadia Caterina Munno is changing the way we think about pasta dishes one social media post at a time. The online star has become such a force in the world of influencers that she even showed Drew Barrymore how to make pasta al limone on TV (via YouTube). 

With more than 2 million followers on TikTok, Munno's pasta positivity can be felt far and wide. She told Fed and Fit she believes that pasta can be a unifier, saying, "You can only love it. It has no party affiliation, it transcends cultures and, interestingly, is the same word in every language of the world." Her passion is infectious.

Munno's recipe videos — including pasta with mussels & clams "made for the gods of summer," the pesto of your dreams, and the perfect panzanella — definitely start a conversation. But the dish that she has us talking about now is her take on mac and cheese. Don't expect the traditional recipe from your childhood; the Pasta Queen riffs on the favorite with Italian flair and a surprising ingredient that has her followers excited to try it.

Care for some mint in your mac and cheese?

In one of her cheesiest TikTok recipes to date, The Pasta Queen adds fresh mint to her mac and cheese, and the video is mesmerizing to watch. "Minty Mistress is rich and decadent. It will surprise you with peppery notes and aphrodisiac nutmeg shavings," Munno wrote about the recipe on Instagram. Surprising is right. Munno could have stopped at pasta with butter and a mix of cheeses, including provolone, fontina, and Gruyère. But this is The Pasta Queen, and she wanted to make the dish "next level."

After stirring the cheese blend together in a warm pan with butter and cream to create a luscious, velvety sauce that still has our taste buds working overtime, Munno adds a pinch of nutmeg and her signature "scrunch" of pepper. From there, she stirs in the cooked pasta, grated parmesan, and pasta cooking water — all familiar steps if you watch her videos regularly. Finally, she adds the wild card: Fresh mint, which we can imagine adds a cooling, refreshing, and "just gorgeous" flavor to this rich dish.