buffalo chicken mac & cheese

This is perfect game-day food.  Guy food at its most basic...  spicy buffalo chicken and rich, creamy macaroni & cheese combine to make a fun, new twist on two favorites.  I love this combination!

This is what I'm bringing to our Super Bowl festivities today...  what are you having?

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese Recipe

1/2 cup butter, divided
1 pound short pasta (rotini or penne)
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 chicken breasts, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups lowfat milk
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and butter a 9x13" baking dish.  Boil the pasta, according to the package directions, until al dente.  (It will continue to cook in the oven!)  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet oven medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook a few minutes, until softened.  Stir in the chicken and garlic, cooking until the chicken is no longer pink inside, then add 3/4 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly reduced.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a separate saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth and light golden brown.  Whisk in the cream and milk, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheeses and sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the pasta in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining pasta.  Pour the cheese sauce evenly all over the top.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and stir together with the panko until moistened.  Sprinkle over the pasta and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 40 minutes!

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