Monday, September 17, 2012

Meatless Monday: Three Cheese Mini Macs

Ah Macaroni and Cheese, dontcha just love it? I sure do! These little beauties are not only cute, but they are delicious!! The first time I made these was for a good friend's baby shower. They were a huge hit, and super easy to make! Cook the pasta to al dente, make a roux (flour, butter, milk) and stir in cheese! Then bake for a few minutes and you're set!

These bites are not only great as an appetizer, but how perfect are these for kids? I don't see why you couldn't freeze them either! You could probably make them in a regular sized muffin tin, but you may need to increase the baking time. Whatever size you choose, just make them, they're fantastic!

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 packed cup)
4 ounces deli-sliced American cheese, chopped
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, shaking off the excess water.

Brush four 12-cup, nonstick mini muffin tins with butter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano; tap out the excess.

In a large saucepan, melt the 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until boiling, about 5 minutes. Add the cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted. Off the heat, whisk in the egg yolk and paprika. Fold in the macaroni.

Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of the macaroni into the prepared muffin cups, packing them gently. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano on top.

Bake the mini macs in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using a small spoon, carefully loosen the mini macs, transfer to a platter and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The recipe can be prepared through Step 4 and refrigerated overnight.

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