Without further ado, we present the second honorable mention from our Best Appetizer and Party Food Contest: Italian Pasta Bites, from Kelli Lafranca!
We loved the flavorful mixture of cheese in this macaroni-and-cheese cousin. With all this cheese, you have to know it's a perfect party food.
Italian Pasta Bites
Butter, for greasing the pan
1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 lb elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups milk
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
1 cup shredded smoked gouda
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Using a mini muffin tin, butter each mini muffin cup. Mix 1/4 cup bread crumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Add 1-2 teaspoons of mixture to each muffin cup. Spread the mixture around so that it adheres to the butter. Set aside.
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, pour milk into a small saucepan on low heat and add fresh herbs. Stir frequently until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Turn off the heat and let sit 15 minutes.
In a large pot over medium low heat, melt 3 Tbsp butter. Add 4 Tbsp flour and whisk until butter and flour are combined. Whisk for one minute. Remove fresh herbs from milk. Slowly stir in milk to butter and flour mixture. Continue to cook on medium low heat until sauce starts to thicken. Add shredded cheese a handful at a time and whisk until melted and incorporated. Quickly whisk in egg yolks and salt. Add in cooked macaroni.
Using a tablespoon, place macaroni mixture into prepared mini muffin tins, pressing down lightly. Slightly overfill each cup. Sprinkle remaining bread crumb-and-Parmesan mixture over each cup. Bake for 15 minutes or until the macaroni was starting to lightly brown.
Let cool slightly before removing. Serve warm.