1 pound cavatappi pasta (hollow, fat corkscrew-shaped pasta) or pasta elbows
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 tablepoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sweet paprika, plus additional for garnish
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons hot sauce
3 cups grated sharp yellow cheddar cheese
2 (4-ounce) jars pimientos, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped fesh flat-leaf or curly parsley
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta to just shy of al dente.
Heat a large pot over medium heat with the extra virgin olive oil and butter. When the butter melts, add the onions, garlic, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the flour and cook for another minute. Stir in the paprika.
Whisk in the milk and hot sauce and bring up to a bubble, then cook to thicken for a minute or two. Turn off the heat and stir in half of the cheese in a figure-eight motion until melted. Add the pimentos.
When the pasta is nearly al dente, drain it well and add it to the pot with the cheese sauce. Toss to combine.
Pour the pasta into a baking dish, top with the remaining cheese, and brown it under the broiler, 2 to 3 minutes.
Garnish with the chopped parsley and a generous sprinkle of sweet paprika.