At dinners and parties throughout the Midwest, Scalloped Potatoes are always the first thing to disappear. This recipe uses a quick, made-from-scratch cheese sauce that's layered with plenty of potatoes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 1-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter until foaming. Whisk in flour until cooked through, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk until smooth. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until thickened.
Stir in 1 cup cheese and season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne if using (I like 1 teaspoon salt , 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and a dash of cayenne).
Layer half the sliced potatoes in bottom of prepared casserole dish. Top with half the cheese sauce. Layer the second half of potatoes and top with remaining cheese sauce.
Add remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top and sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered until heated through and the cheese and melted and browed, about 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Potatoes: Starchy russets are the best potatoes for scalloped potatoes.
Cheese: A block of cheddar, shredded, seems to work best. Pre-shredded cheese can contain ingredients that prevent the cheese from melting smoothly. However, if you have a brand of shredded cheese that you rely on, go ahead and use it.
Yield: This recipe makes 8 servings of scalloped potatoes, 1/2 cup per serving.
Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Make ahead: This recipe can be assembled, covered, and refrigerated (unbaked) up to 1 hour in advance. Bake as directed in the recipe. If you make the recipe further in advance than one hour, you may have a lake of grainy gray or brown liquid in the pan. This isn't harmful but may look unappetizing. If this happens to you, just drain off the liquid and proceed with the recipe as directed.