Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Paprika
Serves 8 to 12

This version of macaroni and cheese is not just for kids. We chose fontina, gruyere, and smoked cheddar cheese to create a smoothly-textured sauce that is popular with adults because it is a bit more sophisticated.

What you need:
5½ cups whole milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more to butter the casserole
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups Fontina cheese
1½ cups Gruyere cheese
1 pound cavatappi pasta
1 teaspoon olive oil
1½ cups grated smoked cheddar cheese
Garlic and Smoked Paprika Breadcrumbs (recipe to follow)

Garlic and Smoked Paprika Breadcrumbs:
1 cup canola oil
3 large or 5 small cloves garlic
1 (26-inch) baguette, crust removed, and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt

What to do:
Puree the garlic cloves and oil in a blender. Strain the mixture, reserving the oil and discarding the garlic pulp.
Line a small, rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, add the canola oil and garlic and cook 1 minute, or until the oil begins to shimmer. Add the bread cubes and stir with a wooden spoon for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the breads turns a light golden brown. Transfer to the reserved baking sheet to drain and cool completely.
Place the cooked bread cubes in a food processor and pulse until the crumbs are coarse in texture.
n a medium bowl, toss the cooled breadcrumbs with the smoked paprika and salt. Set aside until ready to use.
To make the Macaroni and Cheese:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, but do not boil.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. When the butter x 2melts and the foam subsides, stir in the flour and reduce the heat to low. Whisk constantly for 2 minutes, then begin gradually adding the hot milk as you whisk, and cook 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick and bubbling,
Remove the pot from the heat and add the salt, mustard powder, pepper, cayenne pepper, Fontina cheese, and Gruyere cheese. Whisk until all ingredients are thoroughly combined, and the cheese is melted. Set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the cavatappi pasta. In a large stockpot over high heat, bring 4 to 6 quarts water and 1/8 cup kosher salt to a rapid boil. Add the cavatappi, stir gently, and return to a boil. Cook 11 minutes, or until the pasta is not quite al dente. Drain, and rinse the pasta with cold water to halt the cooking process. Drain well again, and toss in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking.
Fold the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce to coat. Pour the mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch buttered casserole. Sprinkle the smoked cheddar cheese evenly over the dish, and bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
Let the macaroni and cheese cool for 10 minutes, then top with the Garlic and Smoked Paprika Breadcrumbs, and serve immediately.

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