It’s always hard to decide on what to bring to someone’s house, or what hors d’oeuvres to make if you are hosting a cocktail party. Food & Wine had another great recipe for these three cheese mini macs using a mini muffin pan! genius! (Note: these are not as healthy as the healthy carrot macaroni I previously posted). These are super easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time (through step 5) , refrigerated, and then baked when the guests arrive. This is always a crowd pleaser! If you like them extra crunchy, just let them bake an extra 5 minutes to give it that crispy edge.
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
1. 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.
2. Brush four 12-cup, nonstick mini muffin tins with butter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano; tap out the excess.
3. 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.
4. Add the cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted. Off the heat, whisk in the egg yolk and paprika. Fold in the macaroni.
5. Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of the macaroni into the prepared muffin cups, packing them gently. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano on top.
6. Bake the mini macs in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for 5 minutes. (Very important! If you don’t let it cool, they won’t stick together) Using a small spoon, carefully loosen the mini macs, transfer to a platter and serve.