4 cups grated medium sharp cheddar cheese – divided
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese – divided
1/2 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 3 qt baking dish (9×13″). Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil to cook dried pasta.
Grate cheeses and toss together to mix, then divide into three piles. Approx. 3 cups for the sauce, 1 1/2 cups for the inner layer, and 1 1/2 cups for the topping.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Cook for approx. 1 min. And whisking often. Slowly pour in about 2 1/2 cups or so of the milk/half and half, while whisking constantly, until smooth.
Remove from the 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.
In a large mixing bowl, combine drained 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 grated cheeses, then top that with the remaining pasta mixture and top with Golden Farms® Crispy Fried Onions.
Sprinkle the top with the last 1 1/2 cups of cheese and bake for 15 min. until cheese is bubbly and lightly golden brown.
While waiting for the baked mac & cheese to bake, prepare fried bacon either on the stove-top, in the microwave or in the oven.
Serving mac & cheese while it is hot with crispy bacon strips on the side.