February 01, 2017

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese



Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
2 cup shredded Buffalo wing flavored cheddar*
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons superfine flour
1/3 cup bread crumbs
5 oz crumbled blue cheese
12 oz small pasta like macaroni or cavatappi, cooked
8 oz sliced, cooked chicken breast
Buffalo wing sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil or spray with nonstick cooking spray a 2-quart baking dish.


In a medium pan, melt the butter. Add the flour along with salt and pepper and stir until smooth. Add the milk and evaporated milk and whisk together until slightly thickened. Whisk in the cheddar until smooth.

Meanwhile, toss the chicken with wing sauce if desired. Stir into the cheese.


Pour over the drained pasta; stir to evenly distribute all ingredients. Spoon in half of the pasta mixture into a lightly oiled 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle half of the blue cheese over the pasta in an even layer. Add remaining pasta mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining blue cheese in an even layer.


Top with bread crumbs. Bake covered 20 minutes, then uncover and cook until hot and bubbly, about 15-20 additional minutes. Serve with additional wing sauce, if desired.

Yield: about 4-6 meal sized servings, 8-10 side dish sized servings



*I used an 8 oz brick of Cabot Hot Buffalo Wing Cheddar Cheese

My thoughts:
After writing my cookbook, Cooking with Frank's RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce: Delicious Recipes That Bring the Heat, I really haven't made anything Buffalo wing related. After making 6(?) different types of wings in a single afternoon, I've been a bit winged-out. Then I saw this Cabot Buffalo Wing cheddar and knew I had to break my Buffalo wing fast and make not wings but mac and cheese!

The cheese is rubbed with sauce so while it is spicy, it isn't so crazy spicy like it could be-the inside is regular cheddar. You can, of course, up the spice by adding some cayenne to the flour when you stir that in, or swirling some wing sauce in when you add the milk.

In some areas, I think people serve wings with ranch but we are firmly in blue cheese dressing territory so I layered in some blue cheese crumbles and then topped it with more blue cheese and bread crumbs for the topping. This way you get a hit of blue cheese flavor but the macaroni and cheese is still super creamy and smooth.

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