Usually around this time every year, I’d be taking a day trip to The Big E with my friends to do a little impulse shopping, hop on some potentially dangerous carnival rides- and indulge in deep fried Oreos, French fries and gourmet macaroni and cheese.
Of course, COVID-19 had other plans, and much like everything else that involved big crowds and large gatherings this year- the Big E was cancelled (and is reportedly returning to it’s regular schedule next year.) The announcement, made earlier this past Summer- was undoubtedly disappointing- but expected with all things considered.
Not all hope is lost, of course. While I can’t enjoy rickety roller coasters and Ferris wheels until next Summer/Fall- I can still make some of the beloved fair food I’ve come to enjoy over the years. For example, this past weekend while in the mood for some warm comfort food- I decided to try my hand at whipping up the aforementioned gourmet macaroni and cheese. Infused with plenty of buffalo chicken, this is an ideal Game Day/Super Bowl party dish, too.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- 1 pound mini penne
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- ⅓ cup buffalo sauce
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
WHAT YOU’LL DO:
1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain.
2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic. Cook until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the flour and cook about 2 minutes more. Add the milk and buffalo sauce, whisking until it comes to a simmer. Add the mozzarella cheese and stir until melted.
4. Add the cooked pasta and shredded chicken; stir to coat in the sauce.
5. Transfer to a greased 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Bake until the sauce is bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes before serving.
I love anything cheesy and/or anything spicy- so on the days where I need to have a carb overload and stuff my face shamelessly- this is a quick, easy and filling recipe to satisfy all those cravings. I personally enjoyed this one while watching the Patriots/Seahawks game while I stayed nice and cozy from the comfort of my couch.
And of *course* it’s just as good reheated, too- so go ahead and save any leftovers (if you have any!)