Three Macaroni and Cheese Recipes

Chef and Instructor Jessica Tijerina shared three different macaroni and cheese recipe, one being deep-fried!

Creamy 3-Cheese Baked Macaroni

Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray or unsalted butter for coating a baking dish
1 x 16 oz package dried pasta (Macaroni used on Twin Cities Live 1/30/2020)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup finely diced onion
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon Kosher salt + 2 tablespoons for salted water
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
12 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2.5 cups)
4 oz Parmesan cheese (1 cup)
8 oz Velveeta cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated for topping
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2/3 cup Panko Japanese-style breadcrumbs

Steps: 

  1. Pre-heat broiler to high.
  2. Coat a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray or butter and set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water (2 tablespoons Kosher salt) to boiling.
  4. Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain and return to the pot.
  5. In another large saucepan melt the 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onion, cook and stir for 2-3 minutes, until soft.
  6. Stir in flour, 1 tablespoon salt and pepper.
  7. Add milk. Cook, whisking constantly until thickened and bubbling. Cook and whisk for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  8. Add all cheese except the ½ cup Parmesan for the Panko topping, whisking until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth.
  9. Add the cheese sauce to cooked pasta; stir to coat. If you over cooked your pasta the noodles will fall apart. Eek!  It’s ok, gently fold the cheese as much as possible and continue to the next steps and try again next time for al dente!
  10. Transfer mixture to the prepared dish.
  11. In a small microwave-safe bowl melt the 1 teaspoon butter. Stir in panko and the remaining Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle panko mixture over pasta mixture. Broil 5 to 6 inches from the heat about 2 minutes or until top is browned.

Firecracker Mac ‘n Cheese Bites

Yield:  1 dozen bites (4 servings)

Ingredients

1 package macaroni and cheese, cooked per package directions
2 tablespoons canned green chiles
2 cups fiery hot cheese crunchies, crushed, set aside
2 eggs, lightly beaten, set aside
2 cups flour, set aside

Step:

  1. Make macaroni according to package directions.
  2. Add in green chiles.
  3. Refrigerate for up to 30 minutes.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  5. Ready a baking rack for cooked and fried mac ‘n cheese bites.
  6. Remove macaroni from the refrigerator, using an ice cream scoop, scoop out individual balls of macaroni onto a baking sheet.
  7. Heat a deep fryer to 350 degrees or heat oil on the stove, ready for frying.
  8. Dip macaroni into flour, shake excess off, then dip into egg mixture, then into cheese crunchy mixture.
  9. Set on parchment until all are covered in cheese crunchies.
  10. Fry for 3-4 minutes, set on baking rack to cool.

Serve immediately with sauce such as nacho cheese, blue cheese or guacamole!

Pastitsio (Greek Baked Pasta)

Ingredients
Meat Sauce
¼ cup olive oil, divided
1 ½ lbs. ground beef
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
½ cup dry red wine (non-alcohol version: mix ¼ cup beef broth and ¼ cup red wine vinegar)
28-ounce can plum tomatoes with juice
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup water, optional to adjust thickness of sauce
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice ground
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Pasta

1 lb uncooked macaroni (or bucatini pasta)
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil for brushing the pan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Fresh thyme and parsley

Béchamel
½ cup butter
½ cup + 2 tbsp. flour
4 ½ cups whole milk
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated preferred)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
½ cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

Steps:

  1. Oil a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
  2. MEAT: In a large skillet, heat ½ the olive oil on medium high heat.
  3. Add the beef and cook for 15 minutes or until meat is well browned.
  4. Add the onion and sweat until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and stir to blend.
  6. Deglaze the pan with the red wine or beef broth mixture and add the herbs, spices, tomatoes and paste.
  7. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 40 to 45 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Adjust with a bit of water, if too thick. Check seasoning. Once done, remove from heat and set aside (reserve) ½ cup sauce for the pasta.
  8. PASTA: Add the pasta to a pot full of salted water.
  9. Boil 2 minutes less than the instructions on the box. They need to be al dente because they will cook further in the oven, so do not overcook.
  10. Brush a baking pan with olive oil.
  11. When the pasta is ready, drain and add the 2 eggs, lightly beaten, thyme and parsley.
  12. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside until the meat sauce is done and then add the ½ cup reserved meat sauce to the pasta, mix and pour into the prepared baking dish. Set aside.
  13. BECHAMEL: Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat.
  14. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Remove pot from heat and add cold milk in very small batches whisking each time until smooth.
  15. Return to heat and whisk constantly on medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  16. Season the béchamel with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese.
  17. Temper the yolks by adding a bit of the hot béchamel into bowl and whisking thoroughly.
  18. Gradually add this mixture into béchamel, stirring briskly to prevent curdling.
  19. Ladle the remaining meat sauce over the pasta in the prepared baking dish, making an even layer on top of pasta.
  20. Pour the béchamel over the pasta and cover evenly.
  21. Bake until golden brown and set, about 45- 50 minutes.
  22. Let stand about 45 minutes before serving.
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