Mac ‘N Cheese Quest: Bites


Imagine this: it is four p.m., that time of day between lunch and dinner when the dreadful stomach grumbling begins. Focusing on anything other than food for more than thirty seconds is a feat. The leftovers from last night’s dinner are annoyingly calling out “eat me know.”

What if there was a quick recipe for one of the most delectable dishes ever? What if there was a 30 minute recipe for creamy crispy cheesy macaroni that can be eaten without silverware? Look no further. My second dish in the mac & cheese series features bite-size pasta goodies that pack as much cheese as the real thing.

Eat-with-your-hands mac & cheese bites | Photo by Estefania Souza.

Mac & Cheese Bites (adapted from Food & Wine)

  • 1/2 lb. macaroni or other small pasta
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup packed shredded cheddar
  • 1 cup packed shredded mozzarella
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone

Preheat the oven to 425°. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to instructions until al dente (1-2 minutes less than the time indicated on the box).

Spray two 24-mini cupcake pans with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the parmesan; tap out the excess.

Sprinkle half of the grated parmesan onto sprayed mini-cupcake tray | Photo by Estefania Souza.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in the flour over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until boiling, 3-5 minutes. Add cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and whisk until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Freshly shredded cheddar makes all the difference | Photo by Estefania Souza.
Add cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes | Photo by Estefania Souza.

Remove pot from heat and whisk in egg yolk and paprika. Gently stir in mascarpone until fully incorporated. Fold in the macaroni.

Constantly whisk sauce until it begins to peel away from the side of the pot | Photo by Estefania Souza.
Gently fold in macaroni and mix until all the pasta is coated | Photo by Estefania Souza.

Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of the macaroni into the prepared pan, packing them gently. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan on top.

Spoon rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking dish | Photo by Estefania Souza.

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

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is sizzling and tops are golden | Photo by Estefania Souza.

Click here for another great mac ‘n cheese recipe.

About Estefania Souza

Estefania is passionate foodie and magazine lover. She could spend all day every day flipping through food magazines and dreaming of a kitchen equipped with everything from a pair SubZero refrigerators, to a professional KitchenAid electric mixer to a brick oven. Follow her on twitter @estefaniasouza

View all posts by Estefania Souza →

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