1 pound small elbow pasta
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups grated white cheddar cheese
2 cups grated yellow cheddar cheese, divided
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease two mini-muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray. Recipe makes approximately 48 muffins.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the elbow pasta and cook according to the package instructions, about 7-9 minutes. Drain.
3. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
4. Sprinkle the flour into the pot and stir to combine. Cook for about 2 minutes stirring constantly.
5. Add the milk and whisk well to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat stirring frequently.
6. Season the sauce with the cayenne pepper (if using), salt and pepper. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the white cheddar and 1 1/2 cups of the yellow cheddar. Stir until the mixture is melted.
7. Stir in the cooked pasta and mix until it is every coated with the sauce. Scoop 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the mac-and-cheese mixture into each cavity of the prepared pans.
8. Sprinkle a few pieces of yellow cheddar on top of each mac-and-cheese bite and then transfer the pans to the oven. Bake until the cheese is melted and the bites become golden, 17-20 minutes.
9. Let the bites cool for 15 minutes before unmolding and serving. Serve hot or at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.