This recipe uses the benefit of multitasking while the water is coming to a boil and pasta is cooking to get a lot accomplished. Here’s the order of steps I use.
- Get all of your ingredients, pans, pots, bowls, utensils out.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Start the water to boil in the stockpot.
- Prep the chicken breasts. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika and granulated garlic.
- Begin pan-searing the chicken. Depending on your chicken thickness, this will take about 15 minutes total.
- Grate the cheeses — you don’t want to use pre-grated cheese. The anti-caking agents in bagged shredded cheese cause the cheese sauce to break.
- While the chicken is cooking, your water will come to a boil.
- Add the pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than the package recommends. You want the pasta to be al dente. It finishes in the oven. It took about 8-9 minutes for my pasta to cook.
- While the pasta is cooking and the chicken is pan-searing, begin your cheese sauce.
- Make the rue with butter and flour.
- Check the chicken doneness. Have you flipped it? Probably time to do that.
- Pasta done? Probably at this point. Drain it and toss with a little olive oil so it doesn’t get sticky. Set it aside.
- Back to the cheese sauce. Add the milk and half and half along with the mustard, spices, and 1/2 of the cheese indicated for the sauce and whisk.
- Heat the buffalo sauce and add additional spices and butter.
- Check on your chicken again. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. In the thickest part of the chicken, insert the probe. You’ll want to read 165 degrees F. If the chicken is done, pull it from the stove and let it rest on a cutting board.
- Add the remaining cheese for the sauce and whisk.
At this point, pasta is done, chicken is cooked, cheese sauce is done and all that’s left is heating up the Buffalo sauce, chopping up the chicken, mixing the cheese sauce with the pasta, assembling in the pan, and putting it in the oven.
Specific directions are listed below in the recipe card.
🍷 Wine Pairing Suggestion:
You’ll want a white wine for this dish. This dish loves a high acid wine like a Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked Chardonnay or dry Riesling. The acid helps balance the cheese and highlights the buffalo sauce.