Muffin Tin Mac and Cheese
A favorite of kids and grownups alike, macaroni and cheese is even more fun when it’s cooked in a muffin pan in individual kid-size portions. Let the “muffins” cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing them from the pan so they don’t fall apart. Then eat them warm, or let them cool and wrap them individually before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 lb. (500 g) dried macaroni
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) whole milk
- 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) half-and-half
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./180 g) shredded Gruyère cheese
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./180 g) shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 Tbs. panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
Preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C). Lightly coat 12 standard muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until not quite al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 2 minutes less than the package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
In the same saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring well, until it is thoroughly incorporated, 1 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk, half-and-half, nutmeg and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer, whisking frequently to smooth out any lumps, until slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add a pinch of pepper and two-thirds each of the Gruyère and cheddar. Stir until smooth.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and stir well. Divide the pasta mixture between among the prepared muffin cups. Top with the remaining Gruyère and cheddar and all of the Parmesan. Sprinkle evenly with the panko and thyme.
Bake until the tops are lightly browned and the cheese is bubbly, 12 to 16 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 12.
Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen