Creamy Stove-Top Mac and Cheese
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound medium shell pasta
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 2 cups grated Cheddar (about 8 ounces)
- 1 cup grated Colby Jack cheese (about 4 ounces)
- 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- Dash of hot sauce
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
- Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and reserve.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When it begins to foam, sprinkle in the flour and stir until it becomes pasty, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and half-and-half and bring to a low simmer. Stir until the mixture looks thick, about 5 minutes. Add the Cheddar and Colby Jack cheese by handfuls, stirring well after each addition until melted. Mix in the mustard, paprika and hot sauce. Then fold in the cream cheese and stir well until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Lastly stir in the cooked pasta.
Serve the mac and cheese immediately while still warm and at its creamiest.