Friday, April 23, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

I don't think I've ever mentioned my undying love for buffalo chicken yet, but I'm pretty sure no one would find it too surprising since I always go on about my love of spice and chicken is my most favoritest thing to eat.

Well, at least besides chocolate. But that's not a very fair competition.

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Anyhoo, when I saw this recipe combining buffalo chicken with macaroni and cheese my brain almost exploded. Seriously, why didn't I think of it before? These two things were just begging to be made into one delicious cheesy dish and thankfully someone took the initiative to make it happen.

I'm adding "initiative" to my Christmas list.

The thing about this recipe is it actually tastes better the next day (which is great since this recipe makes a crapload of food). As with all recipes this size, I divided the recipe in half and saved the second dish for later in the week (I just left off the topping and covered the dish with plastic wrap). Much to my surprise the second dish was actually significantly better then the first (and the first dish was still very good). Ryan said the leftovers he had at lunch were also super tasty.

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Oh and if you don't like blue cheese then just leave it off (I did). I'd recommend pouring a little ranch over the top though.

Would I make this again? Most definitely.

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
(via the Noble Pig)

Ingredients:

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
Kosher salt
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce, divided
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2-1/2 cups half-and-half
1 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, melt 3 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

4. Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top. Put the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni. Bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Drizzle with some wing sauce for color.

Garnish with even more wing sauce, blue cheese and sour cream if you like!

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