I’m the girl that picks off the crunchy parts of the mac and cheese tray. You know, the yummy tops and edges that are crisped up nicely during baking. Some like the soft, gooey center. I’m ok with that. Just sit next to me so we can share.
Mini mac n’ cheese is perfect because every serving is surrounded with those yummy, crispy edges yet are gooey and deliciously cheesy in the middle. And, of course, I had to add some bacon to take it to the next level. Bacon makes everything better, doesn’t it?
This is a great kid’s dish and adults will love it too. You can prepare it a day in advance and just heat it up in the oven before serving. Great, no fuss crowd-pleaser!
Before I leave you with this recipe, I want to share some things that are going on. First, I hope you will join Whole Foods Market Westchester and me tonight, 5/15, from 7-8pm EST for a twitter chat to celebrate celiac and food allergy awareness month in May. Tag @JackieOurman and @WFMWestchester and use #WFMGFJackie to participate in the conversation on gluten-free and allergy-friendly eating.
I am also hosting an in-store cooking demo and lunch with this gluten-free pasta salad in their Ridge Hill store on Sunday, May 18th. For more information, visit the Whole Foods website or email them at email@example.com to reserve a spot. Hope to see you there!
- 1 12 oz package Bionaturae gluten-free penne (or your favorite), cooked al dente
- ⅓ cup Aleia's gluten-free panko
- 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (reserve fat in pan)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp King Arthur gluten-free flour blend
- 2 cups warm 2% milk
- ½ small yellow onion
- 3 cloves
- ¼ tsp ground mustard
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp paprika
- ¾ tsp salt, or more to taste
- fresh ground pepper
- 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and separated (2/3 for sauce and ⅓ for topping)
- Heat oven to 375 degrees and grease muffin pan well with cooking spray
- While cooking pasta you can make the cheese sauce by whisking the butter and flour together over medium low heat until well blended and smooth, slowly add in warm milk while whisking continuously to avoid any lumps. This is a béchamel base sauce.
- Spike the sides of the onion with the cloves and add it into the béchamel sauce. Then add in the mustard, nutmeg, paprika, salt and pepper and whisk. Bring to a boil and reduce to low heat for about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.
- While the sauce is thickening, toast the panko in the pan with the bacon fat over low heat until evenly coated (about 1-2 minutes)
- Once the béchamel sauce has thickened, remove from the fire and whisk in shredded cheddar until melted and smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if need.
- Toss the pasta in the sauce until well-coated
- Sprinkle the muffin tray bottoms with some of the panko, and fill them with pasta
- Toss the rest of the panko with the crumbled bacon and remaining cheddar and evenly distribute on each mini mac n' cheese
- Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until tops are golden-brown
- Remove tray and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before carefully removing each mini mac n' cheese and serve immediately