Mac and Cheese by Rico J. Gore

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Yield: 5 – 6 servings
Ingredients

8 oz. (1/2 pound or about 1¾ cups) macaroni or other medium tubular pasta (like penne or conchiglie)
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika plus more for sprinkling on top
2½ cups 2% milk
3 cups grated medium cheddar cheese*
 
Instructions
Boil the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. 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)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika. Stir constantly over medium heat for about three minutes.
Stir in the milk.
Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
Remove from heat, and stir in 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until melted.
Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and toss gently until all noodles are covered.
Add half the noodles to a two quart casserole dish.
Sprinkle on half the cheese.
Add the rest of the noodles.
Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, and dust lightly with the smoked paprika.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until it starts getting a slightly dry and a tiny bit brown on top. Serve, topping individual servings with cooked, chopped bacon if desired.
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