1 pound dried elbow pasta
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups half and half
4 cups shredded medium sharp cheddar
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9x13 pan
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When boiling, add pasta and cook 1 minute less than the package directs. Drain and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.
3. While water is coming to a boil, shred cheeses and toss together to mix. Divide into 3 piles. (3 cups for sauce, 1 1/2 ups for inner layer, and 1 1/2 cups for topping)
4. Melt butter in large saucepan over med heat. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Mixture will like wet sand. Slowly pour in about 2 cups of milk/half and half, while whisking constantly until smooth. Slowly pour in remaining milk/half and half. Mix until fully combined.
5. Continue to heat over med heat, whisking often, until thickened to a very thick consistency.
6. Remove from heat and stir in spices and 1 1/2 cups of the cheeses, stirring to melt and combine. Stir in another 1 1/2 cups of cheese, and stir until completely melted and smooth.
7. In a large mixing bowl, combine drained pasta with cheese sauce, stirring to combine fully. Pour half of the pasta with cheese sauce, stirring to combine fully. Pour half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheeses, then top that with the remaining pasta mixture.
6. Sprinkle the top with the last 1 1/2 cups of cheese and bake for 15 minutes, until cheesy is bubbly and lightly golden brown.