Easy Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta
April 18, 2014
It’s officially spring, but Winter is apparently a psycho ex that won’t go away as it’s been hovering in the realm of 40s and windy the past few days in NYC. In times like these, I skip the kale and quinoa and go for the comforting stuff, especially after a hard workout when my metabolism is still running wild. Indeed, after trekking back from the gym in the frigid cold, all I wanted was something warm and gooey, and if it’s got some heat, all the better. Since I had a block of low fat cream cheese stocked, I decided to fulfill my comfort food craving with this creamy, spicy, cheesy buffalo chicken pasta.
This bowl of pasta may not look the most appetizing, but that’s only because crumbled blue cheese, while delicious, isn’t the most photogenic food item (that honor probably goes to eggs). But if you’re a fan of the blue stuff like I am, don’t let its looks stop you from adding a healthy dose of blue cheese on top of your pasta – it adds that perfect amount of salt and tang to the chicken, hot sauce, and cream cheese in the pasta to provide the flavors of classic buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing. In retrospect, I probably could have added the blue cheese into the sauce while it was cooking so it’s masked in the sauce (and you can certainly do this if you choose) but I personally like seeing and choosing exactly how much of the cheese goes into each bite.
If you’ve got ready cooked chicken breast, you can easily throw that into here for this recipe, but if you’re starting with raw product like I did, I suggest poaching your chicken breasts as the cooking method. It’s probably the healthiest way to cook the chicken (since it will be cancelled out with all the cheese anyway!), and it will also yield chicken stock that will be used in the recipe (plus chicken stock has countless other uses in the kitchen). The Kitchn has a great tutorial on how to poach chicken breasts if you’ve never done it before! Just add a mere 15 minutes to the cooking time if you follow this method.
This creamy, cheesy buffalo chicken pasta can come together in as little as 15 minutes and provides a warm, comforting bowl of spicy, gooey pasta and a great alternative to buffalo wings.
- 1 lb. cooked chicken breasts, shredded
- 8 oz. low fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup hot sauce (I like to use Frank's)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock (if you poach your chicken breasts, you can use the leftover poaching liquid)
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 12 oz. cooked pasta of your choice (I like a whole wheat fusilli to hold up to the rich sauce)
- 3 tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
- Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water according to package directions, then drain and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, combine the hot sauce, cream cheese, and chicken stock in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until fully melted and combined, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in all of the spices.
- Add the shredded chicken and coat in the sauce, then simmer over low heat for another 5 minutes to heat through.
- Combine cooked pasta with cheesy buffalo chicken sauce, top with crushed red pepper flakes and crumbled blue cheese and serve immediately.