The ultimate in comfort food, this baked macaroni and cheese is infused with all the best flavors of pizza (mozzarella, tomatoes, oregano, and so on). So you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. —Posie (Harwood) Brien
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease or spray a 9- by 13-inch (3-quart) baking dish.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until very al dente (about 3 minutes shy of how you'd cook it normally for al dente doneness). Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, drain, and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Whisk in the flour and salt and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Add the warm milk and continue to whisk constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn it down to low and continue to cook (stirring the whole time) until the mixture thickens and bubbles.
Stir the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, and red pepper flakes into the sauce. Stir for 30 seconds, then add all the cheese except for 1/4 cup of the Parmesan..
Stir until the cheese melts, then remove from the heat.
Add the pasta and chopped fresh parsley to the cheese sauce (and the chopped pepperoni, if using).
Pour the mixture into your prepared pan. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and the breadcrumbs.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling on top. Depending on the size of your pasta, it will take more or less time.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Serve while nice and hot! (Although, I won't judge you for eating it cold the next morning for breakfast. Cold morning pizza is amazing and so is this.)