This weekend is Sean’s birthday and his college roommate just flew in last night to stay the weekend with him. I told Sean I would make them whatever he wants for dinner to commence the festivities. He immediately requested this dish, which we do not make often, but when we do it is always a favorite and does not last long.
This Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe was found on the Food Network website and we have loved it since. A little time consuming, this dish is worth the effort!
First preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9×13″ baking dish.
Shred the meat of an entire rotisserie chicken and set aside. Shred 1 pound of sharp yellow cheddar and 8 oz of pepperjack and set aside as well. Freshly shredded cheese tends to melt better in my opinion. This time around I cubed the cheddar, but I found that shredding it makes it melt way faster.
Cook elbow macaroni to box instructions for al dente and drain. While the pasta cooks make the buffalo chicken filling. Heat a saucepan to medium and melt 3 tbs of butter. Sauté finely chopped onion and celery in the butter for 5 minutes. Add in chicken and 2 cloves minced garlic, cook for 2 more minutes. Then add in 1/2 cup of buffalo sauce (we use franks) and cook one more minute.
Spread half of the cooked pasta on the bottom of the baking dish. Evenly spoon the all of the chicken mixture over top. Then layer the remaining pasta on top.
Next up is the delicious cheese sauce. It is so good I always need to shoo Sean from the kitchen when making it. First melt 3 tbs of butter in a sauce pan. Whisk in 2 tbs flour and 2 tsp dry mustard. This is the roux or thickening agent for the sauce. Whisk in half and half and buffalo sauce (recipe calls for 1/4 cup… I probably use 3/4 cup) we like it spicy, so use your judgement on how much you think works for you. Whisk until thickened then add the cheese. Once the cheese has melted stir in 2/3 cup sour cream until smooth.
Pour the sauce into the casserole with the pasta and chicken mixture. Be careful doing this because depending on the depth of the pan there may be extra sauce! Make sure to evenly pour the sauce into the dish as well.
In a bowl melt 2 tbs butter in the microwave (about a minute). Stir in 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs stirring until crumbs are lightly buttered. Spread evenly over Mac and cheese and top with blue cheese crumbles as desired.
Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving, it will be hard to wait. This was so good it was even eaten by the guys again later in the night as a midnight snack.