"Age is something that doesn't matter, unless you are a cheese." ~Luis Bunuel
I have two Christmas parties to attend on Saturday and I need to bring something yummy to both. What to make that is not too time-consuming (since one party is in the afternoon and the other is at night) and is sure to please most everyone? I think some single serving mac and cheeses are in order.
This recipe is great because you can make the macs ahead of time and store them in the fridge until just before you are ready to head out the door. Pop them in the oven for ten minutes, let 'em cool for another ten and you are ready to roll.
You can use any cheeses you like but I suggest the American/Cheddar mix-it's a good one. You should use mini cupcake pans to make the mini macs. This recipe calls for 4 12-cup mini cupcake pans.
- 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
- 1 1/2 tbsp butter, plus more for brushing
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 tbsp flour
- 3/4 cup milk
- 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese (1 packed cup)
- 4 oz deli-sliced American cheese, chopped
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain.
- Brush four 12-cup, nonstick mini muffin tins with butter.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano into the wells. (Just to coat the insides.)
- In a large saucepan, melt the 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter.
- Whisk in the flour over medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until boiling, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted.
- Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the egg yolk, salt, cayenne 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.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Cover muffin pans with foil and chill for at least 30 minutes or until you are almost ready to serve.
- Bake the mini macs in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling.
- Let cool for 10 minutes.
- Using a small spoon, carefully loosen the mini macs, transfer to a platter and serve
*To make sure they hold their shape when you pop them out, let them cool for five or ten minutes.
Grab 'em while you can, 'cause they won't last long!
(Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine)