- 1lb pasta – I used cavatapi, but macaroni noodles are great
- 6 cups shredded cheddar cheese (4 cups extra sharp white cheddar + 2 cups sharp yellow cheddar) ***for a smooth sauce, grate this by hand instead of buying pregrated.
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- Preheat oven to 375F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil pasta until al dente.
- While the pasta boils, grate the cheese. Mix the white cheddar and yellow cheddar together and then separate into 4 cups of cheese for the sauce and 2 cups of cheese for topping the casserole.
- Drain cooked pasta and pour into a greased 9×13 casserole dish.
- Heat a large pot over medium-low heat and place butter inside. Once butter is melted, mix in the flour, salt, mustard powder, black pepper and smoked paprika. Mix until a smooth paste remains.
- Slowly whisk in the milk mixing constantly until a smooth even sauce remains. Stir in the hot sauce.
- Reduce heat to low and pour 4 cups of shredded cheese into the pot. Continue mixing constantly until the cheese is completely and a smooth sauce remains.
- Pour cheese sauce over the noodles in the casserole dish and toss to coat the noodles evenly. Top with 2 cups shredded cheese. *** If you are freezing this dish or making ahead of time, stop cooking here. Cover and place in fridge or freezer.
- Bake at 375F covered with foil for 30 minutes, remove the foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
*** To bake from refrigerated, bake at 375F covered with foil for 45 minutes, remove the foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes. To bake from frozen, bake at 375F covered with foil for 1 hour and 15 minutes, remove the foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
- hand grated cheese will make the sauce smoother and creamier
- extra sharp white cheddar cheese adds lots of flavor to this dish
- omit the hot sauce if you do not like spice
- use any kind of noodle, but I like cavatapi or macaroni noodles best