Spicy, savory, crispy on top but gooey in the middle – just plain good. It’s not healthy, but I’m of the opinion that macaroni and cheese was never intended to be health food, so why start trying to make it that way?
Preheat the oven to 375ºF, and butter a casserole dish.
For the macaroni: Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, and cook the macaroni until al dente, stirring occasionally to keep the noodles separate. Drain and rinse, then set aside. Now, use the same pot to melt 2 tbsp of the butter over medium-high heat, and whisk in the flour, mustard, and spices. Continue whisking for 30 seconds to a minute, until the spices become fragrant, and then pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Bring this mixture to a boil, continuing to whisk constantly, until it’s thick like heavy cream. Take this mixture off the heat and whisk in the cheese until fully melted, and add a little kosher salt to taste (I use 1 tsp and it’s perfect for me). Fold in the macaroni. It may seem like you have too much sauce at first, but use it all. Trust. Set the finished macaroni aside.
For the chicken: In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter and hot sauce, and then toss the chopped chicken, making sure to coat completely with the sauce. Note: if you’re starting off with cold chicken, you may want to do this step in a skillet: melt the butter, add the hot sauce, then toss in the chicken and let it warm up over low heat. Proceed with the rest of the recipe.
For the topping: In a small bowl, drizzle the melted butter over the bread crumbs and toss to combine.
Assemble the casserole: Layer about half of the macaroni and cheese in the bottom of the buttered casserole dish, then top with the Buffalo chicken, and half of the crumbled blue cheese. Pile on the rest of the macaroni and top with the rest of the blue cheese. Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs on top and bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 20 to 30 minutes, rotating halfway through.
Allow the casserole to rest for about 5 minutes, then serve with celery and carrot sticks.
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