These deep fried spicy mac and cheese bites with Sriracha aioli are a fun appetizer to serve at your next party or BBQ.
- 16 oz. ditalini pasta, uncooked
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk (2% fat)
- 3 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cups Asiago cheese, grated
- 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- Kosher salt
- 1 tsp. white pepper, ground
- ½ cups ham hock meat, picked and chopped
- 1 (12 oz.) jar pickled jalapeño peppers, drained and dice
- 2 cups flour
- 5 eggs, well beaten
- 2 cups Panko bread crumbs, finely grated
- 2 quarts rice oil (or other neutral flavored oil), for frying
For the Sriracha aioli:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp. Sriracha hot sauce
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and cool on a sheet pan.
- In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly for approximately 4 minutes to allow the roux to cook, but not brown. Stir in cheeses and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce starts to thicken. Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt and white pepper. Stir well and remove from heat. Place the pasta in a large bowl and add sauce, ham hock and peppers. Stir well and refrigerate until completely cool.
- Scoop pasta into 2 oz. portions. Gently roll each portion into a ball and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment or waxed paper. Once done, place sheet pan in refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes to allow the bites to tighten. This will help during dredging and allow the bites to retain their shape.
- Place flour, eggs and bread crumbs in three separate bowls. In batches of 3 to 4, roll the bites in the flour and shake off the excess. Next roll the flour coated bites in the egg and coat thoroughly. Remove from the egg and roll the bites in the panko crumbs and coat thoroughly. When removing the bites from the bread crumbs, re-roll the bites lightly to regain the desired shape. Place the coated bites on a sheet pan lined with parchment or waxed paper. The bites are now ready to be cooked or frozen for later use.
- Using a fryer or a large pot, add oil and preheat to 350⁰F degrees. Working in batches, fry the bites for approximately 4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a sheet pan lined with a rack or paper towels to allow the oil to drip. Sprinkle with salt.
For the Sriracha aioli:
In a small bowl, add the mayonnaise and Sriracha. Whisk to combine.
Top the mac and cheese bites with a dollop of spicy Sriracha aioli and enjoy.