Makes 20 minis, each with approximately 39 calories, 1.6 grams fat, 3.2 grams carbs, 2 grams protein
5 oz by weight of elbow macaroni
1 TBSP melted butter, plus more for prepping the muffin pan
2 TBSP packaged grated Parmesan cheese (you know, the kind in the plastic container with the green label)
1 TBSP plus 1 tsp AP flour
½ cup 1% milk
½ cup finely grated low fat cheddar cheese
2 slices 2% American cheese torn into strips
1 large egg yolk
¼ tsp smoked paprika plus more for final sprinkle
¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (from a block of good aged cheese)
Cook macaroni per package directions in salted water until al dente. Drain in colander. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush mini muffin pan with melted butter and sprinkle with packaged grated Parmesan. Shake out excess.
In same saucepan you cooked macaroni in, melt 1 TBSP butter and whisk in the flour over medium-medium high heat. Cook whisking regularly for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and bring to gentle boil (keep whisking).
Add in the cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the egg yolk and paprika (if you haven’t tried smoked paprika-get some-it is wonderful). Fold in the macaroni and stir well to coat with cheese sauce.
Spoon into muffin tin, packing as you go-you want them to come out whole so smoosh them well. Sprinkle the tops with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes or until sizzling. Sprinkle with paprika. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges and remove gently with 2 spoons. Plate and serve.