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 one-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 season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper) and add a dash of cayenne, if using.
Layer half the sliced potatoes in bottom of prepared casserole dish. Top with half the cheese sauce. Layer the second half of potatoes on top and top with remaining cheese sauce.
Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top. Sprinkle with paprika for color. Bake uncovered for 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 6 servings of scalloped potatoes.
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 3 days in advance. Bake as directed in the recipe. To pre-bake the casserole, bake according to the recipe, then cool completely to room temperature. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate. Reheat the casserole (covered with foil) at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until warmed through.
Slow cooker: If you need valuable oven space and have the extra time, this recipe is easy to make in a crock pot or slow cooker. Just prepare the liner of the pot as you would the casserole, then build the dish following the same instructions. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. They don't get as toasty or crispy on the top, but they'll still taste fabulous.
Mix up your mix-ins: For a heartier side dish that verges on main course, layer in thinly sliced ham between the potatoes or crumble cooked bacon over the top of the casserole. Thinly sliced onion or leeks can be added to the layers of potatoes for a little extra flavor. Garden herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or chives are always welcome too.