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Fried Salsa Verde Macaroni and Cheese Balls #MakeGameTimeSaucy #ad

Fried Salsa Verde Macaroni and Cheese Balls

Macaroni and cheese with a bold flavor boost from salsa verde, fried into crunchy awesome, game-day party food.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine entertaining, football food, party food, vegetarian
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

For the Salsa Verde Macaroni and Cheese

  • 8 oz elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup Pace® Salsa Verde
  • 1 8 oz bag colby-jack shredded cheese mix
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • couple pinches fresh cracked pepper

For the Balls

  • all-purpose flour
  • egg wash: 2 eggs + 2 Tbs water
  • 1 cup crushed buttery crackers
  • 1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
  • kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and put the pasta to cook to al dente.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the butter and flour together in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until bubbly. Add the milk and Pace® Salsa Verde, whisking constantly, until smooth and heated through. Remove from the heat and add the cheese, salt, and pepper.
  4. Once pasta is done, drain and add to the cheese sauce. Transfer to a 13x9 bake dish. Bake 20 minutes. Cool, cover with foil, and put in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. Use a scoop or spoon to scoop out macaroni and cheese, and shape into balls. Put balls to freeze for at least 2 hours.
  6. Set up a breading station with flour, egg wash, and crumb mixture (the crackers and panko breadcrumbs combined). Season each with salt and pepper.
  7. One by one, coat a mac and cheese ball with flour, then egg wash, then crumb mixture.
  8. Bring oil to 350F. This can be done in a fryer, or, alternatively, I used a medium cast iron skillet and put the oil to ~1-inch depth.
  9. Working in batches, add 4-5 balls and let them fry (turning if using a skillet) until nicely browned all over. If balls were completely frozen, this will take a couple minutes to ensure center doesn't stay frozen.
  10. Once done, transfer balls to a plate lined with paper towels. Season with salt. Serve with more Pace® Salsa Verde for dipping. Yields ~24 balls.

Recipe Notes

When I add the cheese to the milk-roux mixture, I don't stir too much because I wanted a bit of the separate white and orange cheeses to show in the finished balls.

As written, this recipe is kid-friendly in that it is not spicy. If making for adults-only, I highly recommend kicking up the heat by adding either 2 tsp hot pepper sauce to the mac and cheese.

Lastly, if making this recipe simply to enjoy a big plate of this Salsa Verde Macaroni and Cheese without making the balls, then reduce the butter and flour each to 2 Tbs.