Mac & Cheese Bites

Ingredients

6 cups cooked elbow macaroni*
1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs, divided
1 cup whole milk or half & half, or a combination
1 Tbsp. ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters
1/2 tsp. salt
Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
Dash nutmeg
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup (about 4 oz.) shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese,* divided

Directions

Prepare macaroni ahead of time, cooking 1-2 minutes less than the time on the box. Drain and rinse well. If cooking a day ahead, cover and refrigerate. Macaroni should not be wet when starting this recipe. 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally butter the bottom and sides of a 13x9” baking pan. Sprinkle with about 3 tablespoons of the bread crumbs; shake pan to coat bottom and sides. Place remaining bread crumbs (1/3 cup or so) in a small bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of the Romano cheese; set aside.

Measure milk (and/or half & half). Add Angostura, salt, pepper and nutmeg; stir to dissolve salt. Place macaroni in a large bowl. Stir in milk mixture. Stir in the Cheddar cheese and remaining 1/2 cup Romano cheese. Let rest 5 minutes; stir again. Spoon into prepared baking pan and spread out evenly.

Sprinkle bread crumb/cheese mixture over macaroni. Bake uncovered 35-45 minutes until edges are browned. Remove from oven. Let cool 20 minutes. Use a sharp knife to cut 35 squares (7 rows x 5 rows). Remove from pan with a metal spatula. Serve warm. 

Makes about 35 mac & cheese bites.

* NOTES:

  • Different brands of elbow macaroni yield different amounts of cooked pasta, from 5 to 6 cups for 8 oz uncooked elbows. It’s best to cook more then needed, and use leftovers for salads or side dishes.

  • Cheeses vary widely. Choose a robust, tangy Cheddar and perhaps Pecorino Romano for the fullest flavor.

  • Mac & Cheese Bites may be made ahead. Remove squares from pan. Refrigerate if making a day ahead. To reheat, place squares on a sheet tray or toaster-oven tray; heat at 350°F for 5 minutes. Or microwave on a serving plate for 30 seconds or until warm.

Nutrition

Per serving (3 bites): 250 calories, 13g protein, 27g carb, 10g fat (6g sat. fat), 30mg chol, 380mg sodium, 1g fiber

Mac & Cheese Bites
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