I have a confession. I’ve never been that big a fan of buffalo chicken wings. I don’t know why, but I was always more interested in the celery and bleu cheese dressing. I love bleu cheese; I’m weird that way. With Super Bowl looming on the not-too-distant horizon, I got to thinking about other possibilities and this is what I came up with…Buffalo Chicken Sauce on Pasta. I gotta’ tell you, this surprised me. I really liked it. I think one reason I liked it is the celery; I barely cooked it so it stayed crunchy and the creamy quality of the sauce played off the crunch perfectly. The heat was good…it was there alright, but not over-powering. The bleu cheese dressing helps contribute to the creaminess and the chunks of bleu cheese on top add a great bite. Quite a number of dip recipes use cream cheese, and that’s fine for dips, but I thought there was no reason for the extra calories and I think it turned out to be creamy enough, without being cloying. See what you think.
Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 3/4 cup diced celery
- 1 tablespoon (rounded) all-purpose flour or rice flour
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic granules
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/3 cup Frank’s® buffalo Sauce
- 1 cup blue cheese dressing
- 2-3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
- 16 oz dry pipette or penne pasta, cooked al dente
- Crumbled Bleu Cheese
- Chopped green onions
- Frank’s® buffalo Sauce
Put the water for the pasta on to boil.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and sauté for several minutes or until the onion loses some of its rawness; it doesn’t need to be fully cooked. Add the celery; cook for 1 minute. Stir in the flour and spices; cook for a couple of minutes. Combine the broth and half-and-half (I warm it in the microwave until it’s reasonably hot). Add the broth mixture, a little at a time to the flour mixture, stirring constantly. Cook on low for several minutes until thickened; it will be the consistency of thick heavy cream. Stir in the buffalo sauce and the blue cheese dressing. When bubbles are appearing around the edge, add the shredded chicken. Cook just until heated through.
Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the sauce to the hot pasta, stirring to combine. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Stir again. Serve in large bowls, topped with a sprinkling of bleu cheese crumbles and chopped scallions. Drizzle with some of the Frank’s®, if desired. Serve immediately.
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
A note about the pasta. I liked the pipette. I was a good size to eat, particularly if you’re eating standing up, and you might be if you’re eating this while watching TV or standing and eating this over the kitchen sink. Then it’s calorie-free, right? Yeah! Moving on, we Americans tend to overcook pasta. I cooked the pipettes for just over 4 minutes…the package suggested about 8 minutes. They were firm to the bite, al dente, but not hard in the center. Also, use plenty of water when cooking the pasta and a handful, that’s what I said, a handful (about 1/2 cup) of kosher salt in the water. Pasta requires much more salt that most of us realize. Pasta will pull salt from the sauce, and then everything will have a blandness to it, so toss a bit of salt with the plain, drained pasta, then sauce it.
The sauce is a béchamel base. We’ve already gone over that when we talked about the Mother Sauces. This was more or less a thin béchamel. Now, I barely cooked the celery, because I wanted the crunch to remain and it did stay nice and crunchy.
I think a drizzle of the buffalo hot sauce on each portion makes it pop. I would rather add the hot sauce at the end; it’s easier to control the heat that way. This was done in under 20 minutes, which makes this a pretty simple work-night meal, too. I roasted a large chicken breast a couple of days ago, and just pulled it apart. A store-bought roasted chicken would work just fine, too. This was seriously easy, full of flavor and it has bleu cheese in it and on it…The Goddess loves her bleu cheese.
By the way, it turns out this is a pretty good pasta salad. I added some more diced scallions and finely diced red onion, finely diced celery and crumbled bleu cheese and just a smidge more of the bleu cheese dressing and hot sauce. I think it could be a keeper!