Mac and cheese. This classic comfort food is beloved by most everyone, young and old, in all its different guises. And whether you become giddy opening a box of neon-yellow Kraft or insist on homespun, you’ll be taken by these savory little nuggets.
Sauteed wild mushrooms with thyme are folded into a Gruyere-gilded béchamel sauce, which coats each al dente piece of pasta. A few well-beaten eggs hold the whole thing together. You’ll need a well-greased mini-muffin pan (with 24 cups) to bake these. If you have two, all the better, as it makes just over 24; if not, just bake the first batch, then re-grease the pan and bake the remaining.
You can also bake these in regular muffin pans for bigger bites which you can serve for a nice winter lunch alongside a green salad.
Recipe: Wild Mushroom Mac and Cheese Bites
Makes about 30 bites
- 1 cup elbow macaroni
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cups finely chopped mixed wild mushrooms (about 8 oz)
- 1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
- 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
- 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray two 24-cup mini muffin pans generously with cooking spray.
- Bring a saucepan 2/3 full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring, until al dente, about 7 minutes or according to package directions. Drain the pasta and set aside.
- In the same saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 1 tbsp of the butter. Add the mushrooms, thyme, soy sauce, and a sprinkle of salt and sauté, stirring, until tender and the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add the remaining butter and the flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly add the milk while whisking constantly, until smooth. Continuing to whisk, slowly add the cheeses until smooth. Add the macaroni and mushrooms to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Add the egg to the pasta and mix well.
- Spoon the pasta mixture into 30 of the prepared muffin cups, dividing evenly and filling the cups. Bake until crisp and browned around the edges and bubbling, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing the mac and cheese bites (use a small knife to help dislodge them if necessary).