16 oz. elbow macaroni, cooked (or other tubular pasta)
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups of whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 cups of grated strong cheddar cheese
2 cups of grated Gruyere cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a large 3- or 4-quart baking dish and set aside. Mix the grated cheeses in a large bowl and set aside.
Mix the grated cheeses in a large bowl and set aside. Remove from heat, drain and put them in a large bowl.
Drizzle the pasta with olive oil and toss to coat the pasta. Set aside to cool while preparing the cheese sauce.
Melt the butter in a deep saucepan, Dutch oven or stock pot.
Whisk in flour over medium heat and continue to whisk for about 1 minute until mixture bubbles and turns golden brown.
Gradually whisk in milk and heavy cream until smooth. Continue whisking until bubbles appear on the surface, then continue whisking for another 2 minutes. Whisk in salt and pepper.
Add two cups of grated cheese and whisk until smooth. Add two more cups of grated cheese and continue whisking until the mixture is creamy and smooth. The sauce should be good and thick.
Add the cooled pasta, stirring until well blended and the pasta is completely covered with the cheese sauce.
Pour half of the macaroni and cheese into the prepared baking dish. Cover with the remaining 2 cups of grated cheese, then cover with the remaining macaroni and cheese.
In a small bowl, mix the panko crumbs, parmesan, melted butter and paprika. Sprinkle on top and bake until mixture is bubbling and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.