When life gives you lemons, make mac and cheese. Sure, you won’t use up the lemons, but in my experience melted cheese will make any given day at least 17.3% better (unless you’re lactose intolerant).
Thankfully, I grew out of my mild childhood lactose intolerance so melted cheese for me is a guaranteed cure for the Monday blahs (or the Tuesday blahs… or the Saturday hangovers… or the lazy Sundays… basically, I would eat this for breakfast if I could).
There are so many amped up mac and cheese recipes floating around the internet I just had to attempt one of my own. I love buffalo wings, I love melty cheesy carbs… the rest is history.
This recipe recommends boiling your chicken breasts then pulling them apart so the shreds disperse satisfyingly among the small noodles. I know boiling raw chicken seems weird. I find it weird. However, I learned the technique from a Marcus Samuelsson recipe so it’s totally legit! All of a sudden a lovely pulled chicken is very much in your grasp, even if you forgot to prep the slow cooker this morning. It will never be quite the same as something braised over hours and hours… but it sure works wonders in a short 20 minutes.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 lb small shaped pasta (macaroni, Conchigliette, etc.)
- 1.5 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- ⅓ cup blue cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1.5 cups milk
- ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
- green onion, chopped (garnish)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add chicken breasts. Boil for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove chicken breasts from water and set aside until cool enough to handle. When slightly cooled, use two forks to pull chicken meat apart into threads.
- Place pulled chicken in a small mixing bowl, add ⅛ cup Franks Red Hot (more if you like it extra spicy) and stir well to coat.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Start preparing your pasta according to package instructions. Leave noodles al dente- keep in mind we will be cooking the noodles in the oven as well so a little bite will help them remain firm.
- In a medium saucepan create a roux: melt butter over medium heat and add flour, stirring constantly. Cook for 1-2 minutes then add milk, stirring thoroughly until all lumps are smoothed and the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Add grated cheddar and crumbled blue cheese, stir well until cheese has all melted and sauce is smooth. If the sauce seems to thick, add a touch more milk. Add the remaining ⅛ cup Franks Red Hot sauce.
- Remove cheese sauce from heat and stir in chicken. Toss sauce with cooked pasta and pour into a medium sized casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and cook for 25 minutes, until breadcrumbs are slightly browned.
- Garnish with chopped green onions and serve immediately.