Roasted broccoli - Spread your broccoli florets onto a lined baking sheet and bake in a 425 degree (Fahrenheit) oven for 18-22 minutes, or until easily pierced through with a fork.
Steamed broccoli (stove top) - Add ½ inch of water to the bottom of a saucepan, bring to a boil, and add your broccoli to the water (broccoli will not be covered by the water - this is fine). Cover with a lid and steam for 3-6 minutes, depending on the size of your broccoli and your preferred tenderness. Strain broccoli and set aside. (If you have a steamer basket, you're welcome to use it for this method.)
Steamed broccoli (microwave) - In a microwave safe bowl, fill the bottom with about ½ inch of water, then add your broccoli on top. Cover with a paper towel or a plate, then microwave on high for 2-4 minutes, or until broccoli is tender. Strain broccoli and set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, add heavy cream, cream cheese, paprika, salt, and pepper to pan. Whisk and break apart cream cheese until sauce is melted and smooth (about 1 minute). Add shredded cheese and stir until melted.
Remove from heat. If sauce looks thin, allow it to set off the heat for one minute. Sauce will continue to thicken as it stands.
Pour over broccoli and serve immediately.
Cheese sauce can be used on your favorite vegetable, like cauliflower or carrots, with pasta for an easy mac and cheese, or as a dipping sauce for tortilla chips, fries, or chicken nuggets.
Leftover cheese sauce can be reheated the next day - add a splash of milk if sauce looks too thick.
I do not recommend substituting the heavy cream - using milk will result in a watery, thin sauce.
Sharp cheddar can be substituted with gruyere or monterey jack cheese.