Serves: 6

Classic Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Here’s an easy way to make it :

Ingredients

1 pound (16-ounce) box of small dry pasta (such as elbow macaroni, penne, gemelli, or shells)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups whole milk, plus more, if needed

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dry mustard powder (you can also substitute yellow mustard)

1 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (or use an equivalent mix of cheeses) (16 ounces)

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Toppings

1/2 cup crisped chopped bacon

1/2 cup caramelized onions

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 cup roasted diced butternut squash (1/2-inch dice)

1/4 cup minced chives

Preparation

Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt generously, and cook pasta drain pasta and set aside.

Place a large pot over medium-high heat and melt the butter until foamy. Add the flour and stir in for 1 minute until fully incorporated with the butter. Slowly pour in the milk and stir continuously until the sauce thickens and coats the back of the spoon.

Add the salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika and mustard powder and stir well. Add the cheeses and stir in until completely melted and incorporated. If the sauce seems a bit thick, add in a 1/2 cup or so of milk and stir in completely to thin. Add the cooked pasta and stir in until completely coated.