Today I saw a tweet from Food Network Canada about their recipe of the day – Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese. This was obviously instantly desirable, regardless of the equally obvious gluttony of it. The existing recipe sounded excessively cheesy to us (an odd idea, to be sure), so with a few modifications we took a stab at making our own, lowER calorie version.
Read on for the specifics of what turned out to be a rather delicious experiment. Pasta, cheese, hot sauce – need we say more?
What you’ll need:
- 7 tablespoons margarine
- 1 pound of macaroni (454g in the non-US)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
- 3 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken (About 1 Safeway/Sobeys/Superstore chicken)
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated
- 3/4 cup of hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- A spoonful of cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons of dry mustard
- 2 cups of skim milk
- 3 cups of cheese (take your pick, but make sure it melts well – cheddar, monterey jack and similar work well)
- 2/3 cup of sour cream
- 1 cup of panko crumbs
- Some dried basil
What you’ll do:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking dish of your choice with cooking spray (we filled an 8×8 square and 6″ round with stuff). Boil some pasta water (salt it properly!) and cook your macaroni al dente.
- Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook for a couple minutes, then add 1/2 cup of hot sauce and simmer for another 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 milk, the remaining 1/4 cup of hot sauce and stir until thickened. Because of the skim milk, you might need to add a bit of cornstarch (make a slurry!!) to help things thicken up – we did. You’re looking for a thin gravy consistency here. Whisk in your cheese, and the sour cream until smooth.
- Mix up the macaroni and chicken mixture until things are nicely combined, then transfer to your prepared baking vessel. Pour that glorious cheese sauce over the works.
- Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko and some basil if desired. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes before serving, to let things settle down a bit. Enjoy!
As always, let us know what you think!