Sinfully Rich and Skinny Macaroni & Cheese, Italian-Style



Get ready to make the most amazing mac and cheese, skinny or not!!! This casserole is so over the top rich and is completely vegetarian. Using a store bought container of light Alfredo sauce transforms ordinary mac and cheese into extraordinary! To make it super cheesy and keep it skinny, I’m adding fat-free cottage cheese or ricotta cheese to the sauce and topping the casserole with a small amount of reduced-fat mozzarella. The skinny for 1 serving, 293 calories, 9 grams of fat and 9 Weight Watchers SmartPoints.  Great to make for the family and truly fabulous to impress company!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook and Bake Time: 40 minutes


2 cups (8 ounces) dry Barilla Whole Grain Elbows pasta or penne, see shopping tips

1 (10 oz) container Buitoni Light Alfredo Sauce, see shopping tips

1 (9 oz) package frozen and thawed chopped spinach, well drained

1 cup fat-free cottage cheese or fat-free ricotta cheese

¼ cup fat-free milk

1 tablespoon reduced-fat butter or Smart Balance Light, melted

1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon dried basil

1 egg, I like using Egg-land’s Best eggs

A small dash of salt and black pepper, to taste

½ cup shredded (2%) reduced-fat mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Coat a 9 x 9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. You can use glass or metal.

2. Cook pasta. Cook for only 6 minutes so it will not be overcooked. No need to add salt to water! Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together Alfredo sauce, drained spinach, cottage cheese, milk, butter and garlic. Add pasta and mix really well. Blend in egg, basil, salt and pepper. Be sure it’s all mixed together well.

4.Transfer pasta to the prepared baking dish.

5. Sprinkle the top evenly with mozzarella cheese

6. Bake casserole 25 minutes until golden brown. Let casserole rest for 10
minutes. Cut into 6 serving. This casserole freezes great!

Makes 6 servings (about 1½ cups each)

Healthy Benefits

I love the fiber-rich whole grain pasta available in the supermarket today. Barilla Whole Grain Elbows contains 6 grams of fiber for a 2 ounce serving!

Frozen spinach might just be more nutritious than fresh. The nutritional benefit of fresh spinach, in just four days in the crisper, can be greatly reduced.  Frozen spinach is processed immediately after being picked, locking in the nutrients.

Shopping Tips

Use Buitoni Light Alfredo Sauce, if possible. It comes in a 10 ounce container and can be found in most supermarkets in the refrigerator section, where fresh pasta and sauces are displayed. If you can’t find it, there are several brands of jarred light Alfredo sauces in the pasta aisle. They come in a larger, 15 ounce jar, so you’ll have some leftover.

There are several brands of whole wheat or whole grain small pasta that will work for this recipe. I used Barilla Whole Grain Elbows pasta. It looks like a macaroni shell. You could also use a whole grain or whole wheat penne or rigatoni pasta, if desired.

Weight Watchers SmartPoints
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 serving (about 1½ cups each)
293 calories, 9g fat, 5g sat. fat, 49mg chol, 18g protein, 36g carbs, 5g fiber, 593mg sodium, 5g sugar