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I said once before in a revealing post that I love mac and cheese. Absolute favorite of all time! Naturally, I’m always on the hunt for a delicious take on this classic and iconic American side dish (or main course, why limit ourselves right?!) I had to look no further when I stumbled upon Mac and Cheese Balls. Yes, you read that right. These deep fried balls of delicious pasta and cheese are something to be reckoned with! And they are surprisingly easy to make at a home, even without a deep-fat fryer.
The base of these amazing things is a super cheesy and thick mac and cheese. The cooled, thickened cheese sauce is what’s going to bind everything together; so it is imperative that the cheese sauce be thicker than usual. I make my mac and cheese and then let it cool in a semi-shallow pan; this allows for rapid cooling and for the mac and cheese to not be hacked into tiny pieces if it were cooled in a deep dish.
A standard breading procedure is what gives this dish a beautiful crust. You can opt for traditional bread crumbs, panko, or dredging another round of flour. Just make sure that the breading is seasoned well.
I opted for a sweeter dipping sauce because the mac and cheese is already super savory and I find that this bacon jam plays really well off of the flavors of mac and cheese, while adding another layer without them clashing. I will say to be careful not to let the brown sugar cook too much or you will turn it into bacon candy… And you can’t dip with bacon candy.
If you are wanting to make mac and cheese balls from dried noodles or from left over Kraft Mac and Cheese (I’m definitely not judging, I love that stuff!), skip the first few steps as I go over how to make this from scratch, from the beginning.
If you are wanting to make this from scratch, I am giving you the full guide on how to make it (see here for pasta dough post)! I am putting in a little plug for this contraption though! This ridged paddle and dowel is the key making your rolled and tubed pastas. It’s simple to use really:
Place cut piece on paddle with the dowel at the top of the paddle and pasta piece.
Place top piece of pasta dough on the dowel and roll with slight pressure, down the paddle until a tube forms.
*Make sure that when you are rolling pasta to make these tubes, go until the second narrowest setting as the tubes will get thicker with the shaping and this will ensure the pasta cooks in 3-5 minutes.*
It is pretty easy but time consuming; I would go scratch if you had the time to spare. Otherwise, leftover mac and cheese works perfectly well (just add some extra cheese to the sauce while making it).
I hope you all enjoy this dish as much as I do! Let me know how you like the bacon jam with it too. Are there any other types of sauces you think would go well with this?
Happy eating everyone!
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/2 cup cheddar
- 1/2 cup mozzarella
- 1/4 cup parmesan
- 1/2 cup diced bacon
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- splash red wine vinegar
Roll out the pasta dough until thin, about the second to last setting. Cut into desired sized strips
Shape pasta with paddle and dowel, making sure to keep the pasts pieces you haven’t shaped, covered with a damp paper towel. Place shaped pasta on a sheet pan dusted with semolina flour.
Cook pasta 3-5 minutes in salted water.
Make cheese sauce by bringing milk and cream to a boil. Turn off heat and begin to add cheese in small batches, stirring with a whisk.
Add pasta and stir until incorporated. Remove from pot and cool in a semi-shallow pan in the refrigerator until cool and cheese sauce has set.
Scoop mac and cheese with a cookie scooper (or even an ice cream scooper, I’m not going to crush your dreams). Bread pasta balls.
Heat vegetable oil over medium high heat.
Fry pasta balls in oil until golden brown. Remove from oil and season with salt.
Render bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove half of fat. Add brown sugar and cook until dissolved. Add vinegar. Blend in a blender or pulse in a food processor until bacon bits have been created. Enjoy with Mac and Cheese Balls