Ooey Gooey Hybrid Mac & Cheese

This mac ‘n cheese is the perfect hybrid of baked and stovetop versions. Make this when you want an indulgent, luscious, carb-y, cheesy feast.
Original Recipe from Kitchen Treaty
8 oz. (1/2 pound or about 1 3/4 cups) pasta (like penne or conchiglie)
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika plus more for sprinkling on top
2 1/2 cups 2% milk
3 cups (approx. 12 ounces) grated medium cheddar cheese
  1. Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside. (Mix in a little butter to keep the noodles from sticking if it’s going to be awhile before you make the sauce.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 375.
  3. Melt butter in saucepan over medium. Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika. Whisk constantly for three minutes.
  4. Add the milk in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Continue to stir constantly until the sauce thickens, about 10-12 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until melted. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and toss gently until all of the pasta is coated.
  6. Add half the pasta to a two-quart casserole dish (about 9×9). Sprinkle on half the cheese. Add the rest of the pasta. Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, then dust lightly with the smoked paprika.
  7. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the mac and cheese starts getting a slightly dry and a tiny bit brown on top. Serve, topping individual servings with cooked, chopped bacon if desired.
If you make this ahead of time, it will be more dry. For best results, assemble, but do not bake, and refrigerate. Let come to room temperature, then bake.

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