Mmm, look at that cheese bubbling up around the edges … I can’t take the credit for this recipe, other than buttering the muffin tins and later eating the finished product, but I CAN rave about it so that’s what I’ll do! While I was working on my minted pea dip, my Mom was busy making these cute mini mac and cheeses, as another Oscar Night appetizer. In place of half of the American cheese, she decided to use a nice chunk of blue cheese, which promoted them from three-cheese mini macs to four-cheese mini macs. Even better. Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? If you want a crowd pleaser, you will need to try these! The recipe below reflects the changes made to the original recipe in Food & Wine Magazine. The recipe was doubled and it was perfect for 7 people as an appetizer. We also had lamb-meatballs that were to die for, but unfortunately they didn’t get photographed.
Four-Cheese Mini Macs
(From the December 2007 issue of Food & Wine)
1 pound elbow macaroni (or small shells)
3 TBS. butter, plus more for greasing pans
1/2 cup cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 TBS. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
8 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
4 ounces deli-sliced American cheese
4 ounces blue cheese
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
- Preheat 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.
- Grease 4 mini-muffin pans (we had only one mini-muffin pan so we used one mini one and one regular sized one). Sprinkle with a 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano; tap out the excess.
- In a large saucepan, melt the 3 TBS. 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, American, and blue 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 1/4 cup 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, or simply put the muffin tins on the table and allow people to help themselves.
(This recipe can be prepared through Step 4 and refrigerated overnight. How about that!?)