Friday, March 1, 2013

Buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese


My readers know I love mac n' cheese. Even as I've been trying to eat less gluten and grains, macaroni and cheese remains one of my biggest weaknesses. I love to make it so many ways (and you can find many on here including stout, summer squash, smoky pumpkin, Mexican). This mac n' cheese is something I've been wanting to make for a while now. We made some blue cheese burgers recently and had leftover blue cheese, so I knew the time had come to make a Buffalo chicken mac n' cheese. Now in Buffalo, we don't really call things "Buffalo" -- they aren't "Buffalo" wings, they're just chicken wings. But, for the sake of this blog and all my non-western NY readers, I'm calling this "Buffalo" (but don't you dare put any ranch dressing near it - blue cheese, please). Aside from the blue cheese, you must have a proper hot sauce, and some celery. For reasons that are pretty obvious from this blog, we don't eat chicken wings very often...maybe once a year we will go out for some (we do live very close to Duffs after all).

I really loved this dish. My husband was skeptical, but he really enjoyed it as well. You have to get a good flavor balance in your sauce and that is why I recommend adding your blue cheese and hot sauce slowly and tasting along the way to ensure you don't overpower this dish with either of those strong flavors. Serve this up while the weather is still chilly - it's perfect for a game day or a lazy Saturday night with a couple of beers.

Buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese
1 lb. rotini or other short cut pasta
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing
1 celery stalk, minced and leaves reserved
3 scallions, finely sliced, greens and whites separated
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups milk (I used whole)
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese
about 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
about 1/3 cup hot sauce, preferably Franks
1 lb cooked chicken breasts, cubed
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until just under al dente. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking dish lightly with butter. 

While the pasta cooks, warm the 2 tablespoons of butter in a pot over medium heat. When melted, add the celery and scallion whites. Stir and cook for about two minutes. Add the flour. Stir well and cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Whisk in the milk and chicken broth. Continue to cook, whisking often, until the sauce is smooth and begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the cheddar. Begin to whisk in the blue cheese a couple tablespoons at a time. Taste in between each addition and continue to add more until you are happy with the flavor. Then begin to add the hot sauce slowly while tasting until your reach your desired amount. Stir in the chicken and season with salt and pepper. 

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and return it to the cooking pot. Gently stir in the cheese mixture until well combined. Pour into the baking dish. Top with a little more blue cheese, if desired. Bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Top with scallion greens and minced celery leaves, if desired. Serve with extra hot sauce.


What was I cooking one year ago?: fudgy coconut brownies 
Two years ago?: maple almond butter cookies
Three?: southwest turkey burgers  

19 comments:

  1. This sounds suuuuper tasty! I don't eat chicken, but I think just a big batch of mac and cheese with hot sauce sounds amazing. [Can't have blue cheese, allergic to penicillin. Putting ranch alllll over this ;-)]

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  2. I had buffalo chicken mac and cheese a few months ago and it was delicious. This one is making me drool!

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  3. I have a serious weakness for mac and cheese too! The addition of blue cheese and hot sauce sounds fantastic.

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  4. You really have a way with mac n cheese! And even if you are going GF, there are other pasta options out there anyway, like brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta, and even chickpea pasta! That way, you can indulge in mac n cheese while staying gluten-free!! Love the buffalo chix twist!

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  5. Ooh, yum! I haven't made macaroni and cheese in such a long time, but I love your new tasty twist!

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  6. I love all things buffalo-spiced! And I could never give up mac and cheese either. Sounds great!

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  7. This sounds really good and since my husband loves pasta this would be a great side dish at the dinner table.

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  8. Buffalo chicken is so good and now that it is paired with mac and cheese, its like the ultimate comfort food combo!

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  9. I'm always so impressed at the creative ways to make mac and cheese- what a great comfort food!

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  10. My boys love mac & cheese & I'm sure they'll be trilled with this version of yours. Definitely trying this recipe ! YUMMY! ;)

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  11. How could you NOT like mac & cheese, it's just so darn good! This is one of those times when I wish I wasn't a vegetarian because I'm ready to go face-first into this.

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  12. This looks and sounds insanely good! How smart to use you all the flavors right down to the celery. A lot of times buffalo means "burn your mouth off" so you can't even taste the flavors. This is NOT that. I love it.

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  13. Adding chicken to this would be a great move I think! I've only had it plain or with bacon but it's a lovely comfort food :)

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  14. This mac and cheese looks very delicious. I like the addition of chicken.

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  15. Hi Amy, your macaroni look superb delicious. The cheese and chicken great pairing.

    Have a great week ahead.

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  16. oh man, this sounds great! so glad i have seen the light and love buffalo-flavored anything now :)

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  17. Please please please please send me a bowl of this.

    I NEED THIS.

    Ahhh

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  18. mmmm I don't think you can ever have too many versions of mac and cheese

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