Giada De Laurentiis’ Italian Mac and Cheese: It’s ‘Perfectly Decadent and Cheesy’

Giada De Laurentiis’ mac and cheese has, of course, an Italian twist. The celebrity chef’s known for highlighting her Italian heritage in every dish she makes and her Creamy Baked Parmesan Pasta is no different. 

Giada De Laurentiis’ mac and cheese is called Creamy Baked Parmesan Pasta

Giada De Laurentiis smiles as she stirs a pot of food
Giada De Laurentiis | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Call De Laurentiis’ mac and cheese by its official name, Creamy Baked Parmesan Pasta, or refer to it as mac and cheese. Either way, it’s a creamy and cheesy pasta dish.

“Think of this recipe as my Italian version of mac and cheese,” De Laurentiis said on Giadzy. “This creamy Parmesan baked pasta starts off with a rich bechamel sauce, then a heavy helping of both freshly grated Provolone and Parmesan, making it perfectly decadent and cheesy.” 

“I like to use shell pasta because the curves hold on to more of the cheese and the sauce,” she added. “And broccoli florets add a little bit of greens in an otherwise indulgent dish.”

The flavors don’t stop there. De Laurentiis adds texture with breadcrumbs. “My favorite part, however, is the parmesan and panko breadcrumb mixture,” she said. “It creates that perfect golden brown crunch on top that I love so much!”

The Food Network star’s mac and cheese can be made in advance

Not only is De Laurentiis’ Creamy Baked Parmesan Pasta an Italian version of mac and cheese but it’s also the perfect dish to make ahead. As the 51-year-old explained, the pasta can be prepared up to a few days in advance. 

“This is a wonderful dish to make for entertaining because it can be entirely assembled ahead of time,” she said. “Once you fold in the pasta, just set it in the fridge covered for up to two days. When it’s time to serve it up, sprinkle it with the panko topping, and set it in the oven until it’s bubbly perfection!”

Just remember to leave time for the pasta to cool down before baking. “I recommend taking it out of the fridge about an hour before it’s time to heat it up,” she added. “When it reaches room temperature, it will cook more evenly in the oven.”

Tips on making De Laurentiis’ Creamy Baked Parmesan Pasta

Giada De Laurentiis stirs two pots at the same time
Giada De Laurentiis | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Lastly, some tips on preparing what the cookbook author calls her “easy one-pot mac and cheese.” De Laurentiis made her Creamy Baked Parmesan Pasta on Giada Entertains as a weeknight dinner for her 13-year-old daughter, Jade

Although it has a few elements to it — sauce, pasta, broccoli, and breadcrumb topping — De Laurentiis explained it’s actually pretty simple to prepare. 

The dish, which takes just under an hour to make, according to Food Network, starts with what De Laurentiis describes as a “really simple cream sauce.” In the Eat Better, Feel Better cookbook author’s opinion, cream is a must-have ingredient.

“You really need the cream to get that sort of luxurious velvety-ness in the mac and cheese,” she said on the show. “Otherwise, it gets dry.”

And when it comes to the pasta it’s important not to overcook it. “You want to cook the pasta al dente, really al dente,” De Laurentiis said. “You want to cook it very al dente because it’ll finish cooking in the cheese. So you don’t want to overcook it. That way it has a great texture when you eat the mac and cheese.”

Finally, refer to Everyday Italian host’s pasta do’s and don’ts and save the water the pasta’s boiled because a splash of “pasta water binds everything together.”

RELATED: Giada De Laurentiis Calls Her ‘1 Pot Wonder’ Pasta Recipe ‘Quick and Super Easy’