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Make Mini-Macs

Photo by Megan McMullen

Over the weekend my family held yet another party at our household, this time we were celebrating my dad’s birthday. As I do with many other get-togethers, I decided to try out a new recipe. Since we were celebrating with our McMullen family members, I chose a recipe that went along with the family name.. Mini Macs.

Mini Macs are a smaller, hand-held version of macaroni and cheese. When you have many people over at one time it becomes difficult to dish out heavy meals, such as macaroni. Instead, I chose to make the Mini Macs.

 All you need is:
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Note: this cheese can be hard to find, instead we used a five cheese Italian mix.)
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
and 1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

 First, begin by preheating the oven to 425°. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, you can cook the macaroni until soft, for about 5 minutes. Drain the macaroni in a strainer, shaking off the excess water.

Next, the recipe says to “brush four 12-cup, nonstick mini muffin tins with butter”. However, I chose to just use foil cupcake liners instead. The foil also heats the macaroni through a little more.

After cooking the macaroni through melt the 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan.

The next part is the most difficult, because you are basically making a gravy or a roux. You whisk in the flour over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Then whisk in the milk and continue whisking until it is boiling; this usually takes about 5 minutes. Next, add the cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until they are melted. Off the heat, whisk in just the egg yolk and paprika. Finally, fold in the macaroni.

Okay, now the hard part is over. Now all you have to do is spoon the macaroni into the muffin liners, packing them gently. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano on top of the macaroni.

Lastly, you bake the mini macs in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden and sizzling. (I let our get a little brown and crispy.)Let them cool for 5 minutes. If you did not use foil liners, use a small spoon to loosen the mini macs. Then just transfer to a platter and serve!

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