From classic stovetop shells to leek-and-cheddar penne, I've never met a mac and cheese I don't like. But the recipe I'd been craving most of all was one that, up until recently, only lived in my imagination: buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese.
My fantasy finally became reality one weekend when I put together all the elements I'd dreamed about. Al dente elbows of pasta, coated in creamy, sharp cheese sauce, topped with hot pepper sauce and crispy chicken.
It only occurred to me after sinking my teeth into the first bite that I could improve upon it even more by dotting the top with blue cheese crumbles and diced celery squares. That's why I can't wait to make it again! The epitome of indulgence, after the break.
2 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs Serves 12.
1-1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs
1 pound chicken cutlets
6 tablespoons canola oil, plus more as needed
1 pound elbow macaroni
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided
3 cups chopped onions
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 cup grated jack cheese
1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup creamy and crumbly blue cheese (recommended: Maytag Blue), crumbled, plus more for garnish, if desired
2 teaspoons paprika
1 cup Frank's RedHot Original or other hot pepper sauce
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs