1cupshredded cheddar cheese(113g) Shred your own cheddar off the block, don't buy pre-shredded which is often tossed with a powder that will keep the cheese from melting properly and can leave you with mac & cheese that is both clumpy and runny.
4slicesAmerican Cheese(if you don't have American cheese, you can substitute another cup (113g) of cheddar cheese, but the macaroni will be less creamy)
Bring 3 cups of well-salted water to a boil in a medium-saucepan over high heat.
Once water comes to boil, add pasta, return to a boil, and cook 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Strain pasta, leaving the pasta in the strainer and returning the saucepan to burner over medium-low heat.
Combine milk, butter, salt, pepper and paprika and mustard in the saucepan.
Stir frequently until butter is melted and increase heat to medium.
Once mixture comes to a simmer, return pasta to saucepan and stir well.
Reduce heat to low.
Add cheeses, allow to sit about 30 seconds until slightly melty and then stir until all noodles are coated. Don't turn up the heat too high or the cheese will not melt properly.
Serve immediately. Sprinkle with additional smoked paprika, if desired. Stir in any desired add-ins (such as bacon) immediately before serving.
This pasta tastes best when served the same day it's made.