Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Buffalo Mac and Cheese

Buffalo Mac and Cheese: what a glorious treat!  To celebrate our engagement with our families, we had everyone over last Friday.  Being me, I stressed over what the menu would include for about a week.  We decided that we were going to get a sandwich tray from Wegman's, but we needed some sides and apps.  This is one of the sides I decided on.  I have seen this concept going around a lot of the blogs I read and I saw it on the menu of a restaurant and decided that I had to try it!  I went with my mom's recipe for mac and cheese and just added some chicken and hot sauce!  It was delish!  I also made a vegetarian option for my brother and sister-in-law, and in all honesty, it was just as good as the one with the chicken!

What you need:
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 4 tbs flour
  • 4 c milk
  • 2/3 c hot sauce (I like Franks)
  • 4 c cheddar cheese
  • 1 lbs pasta (I like elbow) cooked al dente
  • 1 lbs cooked chicken (cubed) (optional)
  • blue cheese crumbles (optional)

Start by melting the butter in a pot.

When the butter is completely melted, add in the flour and whisk to combine.

Whisk constantly and let the mixture brown to a caramel color.  This is really important so you don't have a flour taste.  You have successfully made your roux!

Slowly add in the milk and whisk to combine.  You don't want to add the milk too quickly or you'll get a clumpy mess.

Let the mixture cook over medium heat until it thickens.  It will take 5-10 minutes.

Add in your hot sauce.  If you don't like things spicy, cut back on the hot sauce.  If you like things really hot, add more!

Whisk to combine.  You get the most beautiful color!

Add in two cups of cheese and whisk until it is completely melted and combined.

  If you are using chicken, combine your cooked chicken with your cooked pasta.  It is very important to cook your pasta to al dente because you are going to be cooking it longer when it goes into the oven and you do not want your pasta to turn into a mussy, baby food-esque, mess!

Once everything is nicely blended, dump the cheese sauce over your cooked pasta.  Stir to combine.

Then pour everything into a 9x13 casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

Top with the remaining cheese and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and browned.

The finished product is a yummy, cheesy, spicy piece of heaven! 

I used two different types of pasta, elbow for the veggie one and campanelle for the chicken.  I personally liked the elbow A LOT better!  I think shells would work well too.
ALSO, I wanted to put blue cheese crumbles on top too, but certain family members are not a fan, but if you do like blue cheese that is a really good option!

I hope you like this as much as we did!


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