- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks
- 2 cups shredded American cheese
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- Preheat the broiler. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Stir together the panko, the melted butter, and the paprika in a small bowl; set aside.
- Cook the elbow macaroni according to the package directions in a large saucepan; drain and return to the saucepan. Cover and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, for the cheese sauce, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion in the hot butter until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the milk all at once, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, mustard, and cream cheese; whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat. Add the shredded American and Cheddar cheeses in handfuls, whisking constantly until each handful is melted before adding the next one.
- Immediately pour the cheese sauce over the cooked macaroni and toss gently to coat. Spoon into a 3‑quart casserole dish. Quickly sprinkle the panko mixture over the mac and cheese. Broil 6 inches from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.