classic macaroni & cheese

serves 4 to 6

Sometimes I make this and serve with a salad when the whole clan is together. On such occasions, I like to put a little grown up twist on it, and give it a run under the broiler with some cheddar cheese and the Mr. loves the crunch from the breadcrumbs.

One last note on the paprika I use. It’s a sweet and smoky variety with a hint of spice from the local farmer’s market. I really recommend giving it a try if you live in the city.

8 ounces dry, uncooked elbow pasta

7 ounces Andrew & Everett sliced American Cheese

2 cups (16 ounces) milk

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

pinch of Bradley Farms paprika

1/4 breadcrumbs, optional

1 tablespoon melted butter, optional

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, optional

Prepare pasta al adente according to package directions.

Meanwhile, place American cheese, milk, Parmesan cheese and paprika in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on HIGH 3 minutes—may need more or less depending on your microwave, mine is 1000 watts. Stir until smooth and all the cheese has melted. This can alternately be done in a small pot on the stove top.

Drain cooked pasta and return to the pot. Pour the milk-cheese mixture over the pasta. Stir to coat well. May be served at this point or proceed with the following casserole instructions.

Position oven rack on highest possible setting, leaving enough room to slide in a casserole dish. Preheat oven broiler.

Spoon macaroni and cheese into a greased oval or square casserole dish. Combine the breadcrumbs and melted butter, stirring with a fork until it forms a sandy mixture. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of the macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over the cheddar cheese. Place under the broiler and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly and the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted. Watch carefully as this will only take about a minute or so.