Cook: Bacon Buffalo Mac & Cheese

Buffalo Mac & Cheese

I saw a recipe for buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese on Pinterest. Sadly, like many things on Pinterest, it was only good in theory.

Soooo, I retreated into my laboratory kitchen to come up with something better.  White on Rice Couple’s method of cooking the pasta directly in the milk intrigued me, so I incorporated that step into the new recipe. I added bacon because …uh BACON.

I like things spicy (In fact, a friend of mine says I should join the circus because I can eat fire) so I use El Yucateco red habanero sauce. Those with milder palates can use Frank’s Red Hot.

Serve a little bleu cheese or ranch dressing and celery sticks on the side. Try this recipe and let me know how you liked it in the comments.

Bacon Buffalo Mac and Cheese

ingredients

2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
3 cups evaporated milk – divided
½ cup water
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon seasoned salt plus additional for final seasoning
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese cut into small cubes – divided
1 egg – beaten
⅓ cup hot sauce
1 cup crumbled bacon
2 cups cooked chicken,diced
¼ teaspoon paprika
½ cup sliced green onions

directions
1. In a medium saucepan (about 4 quarts) combine pasta 2½ cups milk, ½ cup water, butter, seasoned salt, and pepper.

2. Over medium heat, bring the milk and pasta mixture to a simmer. Stir the pasta mixture frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking together and the mixture comes to a simmer. DO NOT LEAVE PASTA UNATTENDED – as it can boil over or burn very quickly.

3. Once the pasta mixture comes to a simmer, turn the heat down to LOW. Simmer, while stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes until the pasta is cooked al dente. The pasta should be tender but still firm to the bite.

4. Once the pasta is al dente, turn the heat to low

5. Add the hot sauce and half of the cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted.

6. Temper the beaten egg by whisking in small amounts of the warm cheese mixture. This will bring the egg closer to the temperature of the mixture so it won’t scramble once it is added to the mixture

7. Stir the tempered egg into the warm pasta mixture.

8. Add bacon and chicken and mix well. Taste, then add salt and pepper —
if needed.

9. Pour pasta mixture into a greased casserole dish. Pour reserved evaporated milk over the mixture until it is saturated. Top with remainder of cheese. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika

10. Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly

11. Remove from oven and top with sliced green onions.

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