Cook macaroni according to package directions for al dente pasta. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
In a stock pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and stir to combine, creating a paste. Cook for one minute. Add milk, salt, pepper, paprika, and hot sauce, whisking to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes, whisking frequently, until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
Add shredded cheeses and stir until melted. Add cooked macaroni and stir to coat. Pour into a lightly greased 9x13 casserole dish and spread into an even layer. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine panko bread crumbs and melted butter for panko crust. Sprinkle over your casserole in an even layer.
Place casserole in oven (no need to preheat) and turn on the broiler. Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until bread crumbs have browned across the top. Keep an eye on your casserole and do not walk away. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
Classic Baked Mac and Cheese
Using this method will give your mac and cheese a thicker casserole consistency.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Follow the directions above for cooking and assembly. Once assembled, bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly throughout.
Remove from oven and serve immediately.
I recommend only using freshly shredded cheese. Bagged, pre-shredded cheeses contain anti-clumping powders which make your sauce grainy when melted.
To make panko crust without baking: Add butter to a skillet over medium heat and melt. Add bread crumbs and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until bread crumbs lightly brown. Sprinkle over your mac and cheese and serve.
Make ahead/reheating: Your mac and cheese will be less creamy if made ahead and reheated, but will still taste great. Prepare mac and cheese as directed but before broiling, cover and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and remove casserole from refrigerator while oven preheats. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until hot and bubbling throughout.
Leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.