Boxed macaroni and cheese is one of the most nostalgic foods on the planet. I’m certain everyone has a childhood memory that involves that blue box of cheesy love. For me, my memory involves my grandmother. Sundays after church, she usually whipped up a box and served it with bread, apple butter, and some sort of canned veggie… how nutritious!
For some reason no other boxed mac tasted like hers. I don’t know if she used some magical margarine or fresh off the utter milk, but I miss it.
These little balls of love are insane. Yes, they are full of fat. Yes, the smell alone will clog your arteries. But holy hell… are they good!
First you’ve got the mac balls. Chewy, cheesy, crunchy, decadent. YUM!
The sauce is cheesy, gooey and offers a nice little kick.
According to my brother, I can only make this for boys with whom I’m really smitten, because he swears they’ll fall in love… good to know!
This recipe makes about 12 balls. Perfect for a nice sized football watching crowd, as eating more than two might stop you dead in your tracks, or rooting, as it were.
Some tips – make sure the mac n cheese is good and cold. Shape the balls like you would a meatball, really get in there and knead a bit, making sure there are no air pockets.
If alfredo is too much for your dipping, serve it alone or with marinara, or whatever else you have on hand.
Mixing the alfredo with marinara is something I’d like to try for a dipping sauce as well. In the end they’re your taste buds… do what excites em’!
Fried Macaroni & Cheese with Spicy Pimento Alfredo Sauce
1 package, boxed macaroni and cheese, I used Kraft spirals
1 1/2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 egg beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
4 cups peanut oil for frying, or as needed
pecorino or parmesan cheese for serving
Make macaroni and cheese according to box’s directions. Add salt, sugar and cheese to the mixture while it’s still warm. Place in a small container and allow to cool in refrigerator for at least four hours.
Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, scoop out ball and roll between your hands making a ball approximately 2 inches in diameter.
Set up three small bowls. In the first bowl combine flour and spices and mix thoroughly. In the second bowl, whisk milk and egg together. In the last bowl, place Panko.
In a heavy bottomed pot, add peanut oil and heat on medium high until it reaches about 320 degrees. You can test the readiness by dropping a small about of Panko in and wait for the sizzle.
Roll each ball in flour, coating evenly, then in the egg mixture, and then the Panko.
Line a wire rack with paper towels.
Fry each ball, about four at a time, rotating them so they are evenly cooked.
Transfer the fried mac and cheese to the wire rack and let drain.
Crack salt over the top and serve with sauce. Grate cheese on top, if desired.
Spicy Alfredo Pimento Sauce
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
5 ounce jar pimento cheese spread
2 teaspoons Sriracha
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add garlic, cheese, pimento and Sriracha, whisking to heat it through. Serve with balls.
(Also great on pasta and chicken!)