Lately, I’ve been posting a lot of healthy recipes. Most days of the week, that is absolutely fine. However, as the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, I definitely start to crave comfort food. For some reason, comfort food to me almost always includes pasta. Because of this, my mac and cheese and carbonara are both pretty good for feel good food. But this buffalo chicken pasta bake? Yeah, this beats those two, hands down.
My husband, who tends to prefer the traditional version of things, was rather wary the first time I suggested this, but he is a total convert. It is seriously one of our favorite go-to meals. Honestly, this pasta is like the love child between mac and cheese and buffalo chicken. It’s creamy, and cheesy, and spicy, all rolled into one. We love this during football games; it has the definite flavor of wings, but it’s a full meal. As an added bonus, it’s a great make ahead meal. I’ve been known to double the recipe and have a few casseroles sitting in the freezer for a quick and easy dinner (not that this is difficult to make in the first place).
If you like buffalo sauce and mac and cheese (and come on, who doesn’t?), you have to make this. I promise, you will not be disappointed!
Buffalo Chicken Pasta
Adapted from http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/buffalo_chicken_casserole.html
Makes 6-8 servings
- 1 lb brown rice pasta (I usually use penne)
- Vegetable Oil
- 4 large carrots, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 4 cups milk
- 1/3 cup corn starch
- ½ – ¾ cup buffalo sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays)
- 4 oz blue cheese crumbles, plus more for topping
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta till shy of al dente. Drain.
- Combine milk with corn starch.
- Meanwhile, sauté carrots, celery, and onions together in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Once the onions have become translucent, add the garlic and continue sautéing until fragrant. Add chicken, and brown on all sides.
- Add milk mixture to the saucepan, and simmer until the sauce has thickened, around five minutes.
- Stir in buffalo sauce until you reach desired spiciness. Then, stir in the blue cheese till it melts. (My husband really wants to try this with cheddar as well. We haven’t done it yet, but I have a feeling it would be good.)
- Toss chicken mixture with the pasta, and transfer into two 8”x8” glass baking dishes (alternatively, you can put it in one 9”x13” pan). Top with blue cheese, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until bubbly.
- Let stand for a few minutes before serving.
Note: I tend to make it in two 8”x8” dishes, and only bake one off. The second will freeze well (don’t top with the cheese until thawing!) or stay in the fridge for a few days for a perfect make-ahead meal.