Recipe: Enjoy the comfort of Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese Bites

WAUSAU, Wis., (WSAW)-- Macaroni and cheese is one of America’s favorite comfort foods and we just can’t get enough! It also presents the perfect opportunity to showcase your favorite Wisconsin cheese.

To talk about zippy appetizer featuring popular buffalo flavor and tasty mac and cheese Beth Schaefer from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board joined the News at Noon.

For decades, macaroni and cheese has made the top ten comfort foods list and is a top ten favorite choice for kids.

The most popular cheese used in macaroni and cheese is cheddar, but behind cheddar, the most popular recipes include alpine style, gouda, havarti, and parmesan.

We love macaroni and cheese so much we’ve designated a day in its honor “National Macaroni and Cheese Day” is celebrated on July 14 in the United States…but since summers are warm, we can celebrate now.

Buffalo Mac and Cheese Bites have all the flavor of your favorite wings without the mess. Serve as an appetizer for your next party or add a salad on the side for a delicious and easy dinner.

The triple trio of sharp cheddar, smooth mozzarella and rich blue cheese gives these bites a tangy flavor.

Crystal Farms Wisconsin cheddar has aged a minimum of 60 days for maximum flavor, making it well worth the wait.

The mild, delicate, and milky flavor of Crystal Farms low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella combined with their sharp cheddar in this recipe helps create a delicious cheesy sauce any pasta would be proud to wear.

Salemville® Amish Blue is a blue-veined cheese made from hand-milked cow milk and popular for its quality and flavor. It is a semi-hard textured cheese that has a rich and earthy flavor.

Many of the farms that supply the Salemville® cheese plant are Amish, and they still deliver their quality fresh milk dairy in milk cans.

Recipe Tip: Frank’s RedHot Original Sauce was used in this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1 package (16 ounces) uncooked ditalini pasta
6 tablespoons butter, cubed and divided
2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, divided
3 tablespoons minced fresh dill, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
1/2 cup hot pepper sauce
2 teaspoons ranch salad dressing mix, divided
4 ounces Crystal Farms Mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)
4 ounces Crystal Farms Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 ounces crumbled Salemville® Amish Blue cheese (2/3 cup)
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup buttermilk

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
1. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 garlic clove; cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in Panko bread crumbs; toss to coat. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon each parsley and dill. Set aside.

3. Melt remaining butter in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Add remaining garlic clove; cook and stir for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, cream, hot pepper sauce and
teaspoon ranch salad dressing mix. Bring to a boil; cook and whisk for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat to low; gradually stir in mozzarella and cheddar until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Whisk a 1/4 cup hot cheese sauce into eggs in a bowl. Return all to pan; whisk to combine. Stir in pasta.

4. Divide pasta mixture into 48 greased mini muffin cups; press down gently. Sprinkle with blue cheese and reserved bread crumb mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160°F and pasta is lightly brown and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes in pans before serving.

5. Combine sour cream with buttermilk. Season with remaining parsley, dill and ranch salad dressing mix to taste. Serve with mac and cheese bites.

RECIPE TIP:
Any brand of Wisconsin mozzarella, sharp cheddar or blue cheese can be used.
We used Frank’s RedHot Original Sauce in this recipe.