Comfort food doesn’t get more simple or savory than this one-skillet side dish. Toasted breadcrumbs provide crunch as well as extra bite with smoked paprika. Cheddar makes for an old-fashioned baked mac & cheese with crispy edges and a gooey center, but just about any cheese would work well in its place.

Serves: 2-4
Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked mini shells
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
¼ cup panko or coarse breadcrumbs
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 cup half-and-half
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar
Kosher salt, to taste

1.

Heat oven to 400° F. Bring a 4-quart pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a Field No.4 Skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 4–5 minutes. Stir in paprika, transfer breadcrumbs to a small bowl and wipe out the skillet.

3.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour and mustard powder and whisk until nutty and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in half-and-half and cook until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in cheese until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and fold in cooked pasta until evenly coated.

4.

Top with reserved breadcrumbs and bake until bubbling and golden, 10–12 minutes.