If you like pizza and Mac and Cheese, you will absolutely love this Mac and Cheese pizza. Make it with homemade pizza dough, a savory creme fraiche sauce, some elbow noodles and lots of cheese.
Two great things have come from Madison, WI: the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ian’s pizza.
Ahhh, Ian’s pizza. Where do I begin? The smell is enough to make me absolutely lose my mind/do inappropriate things in public. Here’s the thing. There is nothing that I love more than pizza. Pizza is my Achille’s heel. The food that if I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be pizza and I would never get sick of it. I know I’m not the only one who has this sentiment, but I am one of the few who has access to Ian’s every single day.
Ian’s best slice of pizza is their famous Mac and Cheese pizza. It sounds absolutely heinous and something that a child would throw together and call art, but this is Wisconsin and we love cheese. It is the perfect slice of pizza. I have never tasted something more exquisite.
I wanted to try and make this recipe at home. After you make the dough and let it rise for 24 hours, this pizza only takes about 30 minutes to put together. If you don’t use all of the pizza dough in one go, the pizza dough will last in the fridge for 2-4 days after you make it, so you can enjoy Mac and Cheese pizza all week if you want! Additionally, pizza dough freezes well.
Even if you’ve never made pizza dough before, this pizza dough was quick and easy to put together. First, you combine the sugar, warm water and yeast in a bowl. When you dip your finger into the water, make sure it feels lukewarm. If you have a food thermometer, the temperature should read between 120 F – 130 F. It’s important the water isn’t too hot because temperatures over 140 F kill yeast. Once you’ve combined these three ingredients, it will start to foam. Why? Yeast LOVES sugar and as it consumes the sugar, it gives off gas, thus the foaming. (It’s also the reason why bread rises, so let’s give a round of applause to yeast farts because otherwise bread would not rise.)
After the mixture starts to foam, add the flour, salt and olive oil. I recommend using bread flour. Why? Bread flour has higher protein content, which means when you add water and knead the dough, it forms larger gluten networks. If the dough has larger gluten networks, it can stretch and bend more. However, if you don’t have bread flour, you are welcome to use all purpose flour, although you will have to knead the dough a bit longer. After you’ve added the flour, knead by hand for at least five minutes. The more you knead, the more gluten networks you form, which makes it easier to roll out the pizza dough the next day. It’s nearly impossible to over knead if you’re kneading by hand, so take out some of your frustrations (or joys) on this pizza dough. When you’re done kneading, pop the dough in the fridge for twenty four hours. The next morning, take out the dough, knead for another couple of minutes and split into four pieces.
Now for the t0ppings! Yum! You can either make the creme fraiche base and consists of pretty basic ingredients of heavy whipping cream and buttermilk. Otherwise, you can purchase creme fraiche from your local grocer. Because I had the ingredients for creme fraiche in the fridge, I made it myself. If you are making the creme fraiche base yourself, make it the same night you make the pizza dough because it requires 12-16 hours to thicken. After you’ve made/bought your creme fraiche, you can start putting your pizza together.
When you are ready to make your pizza after the dough has risen, take your dough out of the fridge and divide it into four equal parts. The toppings in the recipe below are for only one of these pizza balls. Put the rest into the fridge or make more pizzas. I just want to reiterate that the amount of creme fraiche and cheese are for 1/4 of the dough. While the dough chills, make your elbow noodles. Then, after your dough has chilled, roll it out for another couple of minutes and then roll it into a thin crust. Add a 1/4 cup of the creme fraiche and layer on the mozzarella cheese. Do NOT add the elbow noodles or the cheddar cheese yet! Bake for about 10 minutes. The crust should only be lightly browned. Now, add the cheddar cheese and cooked elbow macaroni. Bake for an additional 2 minutes, or until the cheddar is nice and melty.
This pizza did not require strange ingredients or sorting through specialty aisles. I quickly and easily made all of the necessary ingredients at home.
And boy, oh boy. I have created my idea of heaven in a pizza. This tasted a lot like Ian’s (although that pizza is blessed by the gods and mine does not quite reach that level; it’s more like blessed by a minor deity.) And it was so delicious.
The dough split into four chunks, so I made two twelve inch pizzas and then made a third Mac and Cheese and froze it. The final chunk of dough became a regular old cheese pizza, but really, when has regular old cheese pizza been nothing but satisfying?
Enjoy this pizza as much as I did.
- For the dough:
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- .25 oz of yeast
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- For the creme fraiche (if making homemade):
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
- Other toppings:
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 2/3 cup cooked elbow macaroni
- For the dough: The night before you make your pizza: In a bowl, combine the sugar and warm water until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the yeast. Once the yeast starts to foam, about five minutes, add the flour, salt and olive oil. Knead for five minutes, then place in a covered bowl so it can rise. Let it rise overnight for 24 hours. After it’s done rising, divide into four dough balls.
- For the creme fraiche:
- In a bowl, combine the cream and buttermilk. Cover with a clean kitchen cloth in a warm, draft-free place and let sit until thickened, but still a pourable consistency, 12 to 16 hours. Stir and refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)
- Putting it all together:
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- While the dough is chilling, boil water. Add 2/3 cup of elbow macaroni to the water. Cook until the noodles are fully cooked. You don’t want al dente noodles on this pizza, otherwise the noodles will have a slight crunch.
- After the dough is done chilling, take one ball of dough (1/4 of the total dough you made), knead again and then flatten into a very thin sheet.
- For each 1/4 of the pizza, put a 1/4 cup of creme fraiche and mozzarella onto the dough and bake for about ten minutes, or until the crust is just turning brown.
- Take out, add the half cup of cheddar cheese and cooked macaroni and bake for an additional 2 minutes. Serve warm.
Sounds great and I’d like to try it. When did you add the macaroni to the pizza? after the crème fraiche is in the oven for 10 minutes or before that? Thanks
Hi Sonia! You add the cooked macaroni with the cheddar cheese after you’ve baked the pizza for ten minutes! -Brita
I love Ian’s Mac and cheese pizza! Making this recipe tonight! I’m a Wisconsin native and it is my family’s absolute favorite pizza spot! Curious since you know this recipe, if you know their ranch recipe?
Thanks in advance!
Hi Amanda! The best state of them all! I don’t know their ranch recipe, but I am sure you can do a swift google. Thank you!