· 14-15 ounces dry pasta (elbows, penne, shells, rotini, or a combination)· 1 pound bulk Italian sausage (mild, sweet, or hot, or even turkey sausage)· 1/2 medium onion (diced (about 1 cup))· 2 cloves garlic (minced)· 4 tablespoons butter· 4 tablespoons all purpose flour· 3 cups milk (regular, lowfat, or nonfat)· 1/2 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning· 4 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, american, mozzarella, monterey jack, or a combination)· Salt and Pepper to taste
Step 1Optional: preheat oven to 350°F.Step 2Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pan.Step 3While the pasta is cooking, cook the sausage over medium heat in a large frying pan. Use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage into small bits. This takes about 5-10 minutes. Drain the fat and set the sausage aside.Step 4Using a 3 quart saucepan (or you can use the pan you cooked the sausage in, if it’s deep enough), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Stir in the flour completely and cook for 1 minute, then add the milk. Stir to combine the mixture, then add the italian seasoning.Step 5Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes or so. It should be the consistency of a creamy soup. Stir in the cheese until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.Step 6Stir the sausage into the cooked pasta, then stir in the cheese sauce. At this point you can eat it from the pan, or bake it to form a crunchier top (or to keep it warm for company).Step 7If baking, place in a 9x13” pan and bake about 15 minutes. You can also just put the oven on low and keep it warm that way.Step 8Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. This can be made one day ahead and reheated in the oven as well.