The first time I ever had macaroni and cheese cups was at my friend Sally’s home. They were absolutely wonderful and inspired me to make some of my own. I came up with this recipe that calls for four different types of cheese, elbow macaroni, prosciutto ham and panko crumbs. Pasta, pork, cheese and bread – some of my favorite food groups for sure! These reheat well – just zap them in the microwave for a minute or so – perfect to take to work for lunch.
Ingredients (Makes 12 muffins)
- 8 oz. elbow macaroni (I think small shells would work, too)
- 6 thin slices of prosciutto ham (3 oz.)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup panko crumbs
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1 ¼ cups fat free half and half
- ¼ cup Fontina cheese, shredded
- ¼ Asiago cheese, shredded
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Colby-Jack cheese, shredded
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Fill a large pan with water, add a few pinches of salt and bring it to a boil. Add the macaroni and follow the directions on the package to cook it al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the water before draining the pasta in a colander.
While the pasta is cooking, cut each slice of the prosciutto in half. Line the bottom each cup of a 12-cup, non-stick muffin tin with a slice of the prosciutto.
In a small frying pan, melt one tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the panko crumbs and sauté them until they are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Set these aside to use later.
In a large saucepan, melt the rest of the butter. Add the flour and whisk it until it is smooth. Slowly add the half and half and stir it until it is smooth with no lumps. Cook this for about 5 minutes or so, until it starts to thicken.
Remove the saucepan from the stove. Add the reserved water from the pasta, the four cheeses, mustard and salt and pepper to taste and blend until the cheeses melt. You want a nice and smooth sauce.
Add the drained macaroni and mix together well.
Fill each of the wells of the muffin tin with the mac-n-cheese and sprinkle with the panko crumbs.
Cook for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are slightly brown.
I like to serve these delicious “muffins” with fresh fruit and tomatoes. Yum!
Eat, drink and be merry!