I mean, I'm doing it right now.
I used Noble's Pig Vineyard and Winery's recipe as a starting point, and I feel like I really should link to it, for those of you with a taste for cream and butter and the good things in life. Here is the original recipe from Noble Pig. It is a much richer, creamier, buttery-er recipe that looks as though it is divine.
I just can't eat food that's quite that rich, so I ended up changing rather a lot.
And made a note for myself to use half Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce and half of our regular hot sauce in the future, because it definitely had that delicious buffalo wing-sauce tang, but it wasn't really very spicy at all.
So, on to cookery!
Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, Katie's Way
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb whole-wheat elbow macaroni
1 small onion, chopped smallish
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
Roughly 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce, divided
2 tablespoons whole-wheat all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 cups milk (2% or skim is good; I used skim)
1 lb extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or cut into very small cubes.
Four heaping tablespoons sour cream
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
Generous palmful of fresh parsley, chopped
The first thing you're going to notice is that this is probably the most ingredient-heavy dish I've ever dealt with using a recipe for. I tend to get dismissive when I see large lists of ingredients; it speaks of entirely too much effort to my poor frazzled brain.
Every once in a while, though, I just get a hankerin' for a certain food item, and I must have it at all costs.
This was one of those times.
Now, On to Creation!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Now, we used a baking dish that is roughly 9 x 13, and found that it was juuuuuuuuuust big enough to handle the meal, with a little spillage over the side while baking. I would go on the safe side and use a larger baking dish if possible in the future. I definitely reccommend using the next size up, not a 9 x 13.
In any case, spray your baking dish with non-stick spray.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the macaroni pasta and cook until al dente, or just a little bit before completely done. Drain and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, or about five minutes or so. Stir in chicken and garlic and cook for another couple of minutes (two or three), then add 1/2 cup of hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, or another minute or so.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in another skillet until melted, on medium heat. Stir in the whole-wheat flour and dry mustard, until smooth. Whisk in your half-and-half and skim or 2% milk, then add the remaining 1/2 cup of hot sauce, and stir until thick, for about two more minutes. Whisk in the cheddar until it has melted and become one with the sauce, then whisk in the sour cream, until it's smooth.
Spread half the macaroni in your baking dish, top with the chicken mixture and then the remaining macaroni. Pour your cheese sauce evenly on top, making sure it's sinking into the crevices like it should.
Take your remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and heat in a mixing bowl in the microwave until melted. Stir in your breadcrumbs, blue cheese crumbles, and chopped parsley. Top the whole concoction with this, as evenly as you can.
Bake until bubbly, for about 30 minutes.
Allow to rest for five or ten minutes before serving.
I would place extra blue cheese, parsley, and hot sauce on the table for customizing. It never hurts to keep a little extra sour cream around, too.
Yay! Time to eat!
When I fly to Illinois at Christmas, I think I will volunteer to make this recipe for a family dinner or something. With the amount of hot sauce in it, it wasn't very spicy, and you can always cut down on the amount even more for those stomachs that can't take any heat and just keep the extra hot sauce on the table for those who like a lot of heat to add their own.
I don't think I'll have the energy to make another ingredient-intensive dish before then.
you never know.
(Yes I do. I do know. I am so lazy.)