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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Lighter Macaroni and Cheese

An adaptation of the recipe in my first book, Everyday Italian, this lightened-up version is also gluten free. Greek yogurt gives it the rich, creamy texture of cream and butter without the fat, and the rice cereal adds a boost of fiber and the perfect crunch.

Lighter Macaroni and Cheese



Prep Time

15 minutes

Cook Time

15 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Lighter Macaroni and Cheese


  • 1 12-ounce bag of rice flour penne, such as Bionaturae
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15- ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup about ¼ pound shredded Gruyère or Emmentaler cheese
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ cup oven-toasted rice cereal (such as Chex, crushed)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the broiler to high.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook according to package directions, just until al dente. Drain well, reserving 1/3 cup of pasta water for the sauce.
  3. Heat a 3-quart ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and shallots and cook, stirring often, until the shallots have softened and are translucent. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  4. Turn off the heat and add the ricotta, yogurt, shredded Gruyère, thyme, salt, cayenne, and reserved pasta water. Whisk until combined. Add the cooked pasta and fold into the sauce until it is well coated.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the crushed rice cereal with the Parmesan. Sprinkle the mixture over the pasta and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown on top and bubbly.



Nutrition Serving Size
per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
88 grams
24 grams
44 grams
Saturated Fat
9 grams
17 milligrams
485 milligrams
4 grams
4 grams
gluten free
nut free

1 comment

  • Author's avatar image
    Karen Zamora

    Super easy and delicious… I made the mac and cheese this weekend and everyone loved it.. I had a lil leftovers and took to work on Monday and everyone was "your food smells amazing " definitely making it again… thanks Giada

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