I love macaroni and cheese (that may be an understatement). If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, it may possibly be Kraft macaroni and cheese. However, since I am supposed to be a grown-up, I should probably eat like one (at least one meal a day). So, I am on an ongoing journey of finding that "just as good as kraft" homemade macaroni and cheese recipe. I haven't found it yet, but this one is up there among my favorites.
Not only do I love mac and cheese, I also love spicy food. This recipe offers the best of both worlds! It was pretty easy to make (I actually made it earlier in the day and refrigerated it until I was ready to bake it). Two things to change: I made half this recipe and it still made a ton. So, unless you are feeding an army, I suggest halving the recipe. Also, as funny as this sounds, I think you can leave out the chicken. The chicken gets in the way of the yummy crunchy topping, and the ooey gooey cheese.
Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
* 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 hot sauce (preferably Frank's)
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons dry mustard
* 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
* 1 pound yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
* 8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
* 2/3 cup sour cream
* 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
* 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.
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.
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.
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 medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.