Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook 2 minutes shy of until al dente. Drain, rinse and add the cooked pasta to the prepared pan in a single layer.
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until combined. Add milk and whisk until mixture is creamy and thickened, approximately 3 minutes. Add 2 cups cheddar, 2 cups Gruyere or mozzarella, salt, pepper and paprika to the pan and stir until cheese has melted.
Pour the cheese mixture over the top of the pasta in the pan. Mix it slightly with a spoon and top with reserved cheddar and Gruyere/mozzarella. Top with Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is very lightly golden brown around the edges. Serve immediately!
No need to stick with the types of cheeses mentioned in the recipe card, but try to stick as close to the amounts as possible. Great cheese options include: sharp cheddar, white cheddar, Parmesan, American, Velveeta, colby jack, monterey jack, mozzarella, Gruyere and provolone.
Shredding cheese just before adding it to the recipe is always the tastiest option.
This makes a large batch of mac and cheese! It will easily feed 8 hungry people as a main dish or 12 people as a side dish or party food. This is a great dish for pot lucks!
Add cooked ham or bacon pieces to add flavor and when serving as a main dish!
Add fresh, minced garlic (or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder) to the butter before adding the flour for an added punch of flavor.
Calories: 395.36kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.3g | Protein: 19.08g | Fat: 26.41g | Saturated Fat: 15.51g | Cholesterol: 79.89mg | Sodium: 681.28mg | Fiber: 0.9g | Sugar: 0.47g
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