Mac and Cheese Bites
Anything small is big. Pick up a foodie magazine and there will undoubtedly be a recipe for a small version of a favorite food. Slider-sized burgers made of ground beef or turkey, mini lobster rolls, shots of gazpacho or clam chowder, and bite-sized chicken tacos. The culinary world is in love with "The Mini."
As I was planning for a client's birthday barbecue bash, I suggested Mac and Cheese Bites - a macaroni and double cheese one-bite appetizer or side dish. I have served these cheesy nibbles with barbecued baby back ribs, grilled lemon chicken, and pulled pork sandwiches.
The Mac and Cheese Bites can be made ahead of dinner or party time and reheated just before serving. Add this recipe to your file and enjoy mac and cheese a little more often.
Mac and Cheese Bites
adapted from a recipe in Food & Wine magazine November, 2007
makes about 36 bites
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups, packed, sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for sprinkling on top
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 pound elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 24-count, nonstick mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking occasionally, for about 2 -3 minutes until thickened. Add cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and stir to melt. Remove from heat and stir in egg yolks, salt and nutmeg. Stir in macaroni.
Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of macaroni and cheese into the prepared mini muffin pan. Each cup should be filled to the top. Pack each one down gently. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for 10 - 15 minutes. Using a teaspoon, carefully loosen the mac and cheese bites and transfer to a platter to serve.
To make ahead, bake and cool mac and cheese bites. Sprinkle with a little more Parmesan cheese. Package and refrigerate. Place bites on a baking sheet and bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 5 minutes. Serve warm.