Everyone! Christmas is on its way! For my family that means flying to upstate New York and being generally cold and eating too much at grandma's house. I am dreading leaving the warm embrace of the San Diego sun. Every year it gets harder and harder to envision happiness in the icy shivering hellscape that is Rochester New York. As such, I'm trying to enjoy as much of the holidays as I can while I'm still in balmy southern California, which for me means making lots and lots of pasta. But what kind of pasta to make? This past weekend, I drew inspiration from tradition.
For Christmas Eve dinner, we usually make eggplant parmesan, cardoons, lasagna, pasta with meatballs, stuffed artichokes, fried chicken cutlets, and thousands of cookies. But before that, every year we all have to go eat Buffalo wings for lunch at the most magical of cozy fireplace-ridden bars in Rochester, The Distillery. It serves as a stomach stretcher so that we are essentially already full when dinner starts. This guarantees that everyone is able to adjourn after dinner to the couches and beds to fall into the deepest of uncomfortable and involuntary slumbers. We've been doing this for as long as I can remember; one giant feast followed by another. But this year, the tradition of eating wings for lunch has been canceled (or rather, relocated to a place that might not have wings on their menu at all)! Needless to say, this sudden shift in tradition made me immediately panic, so to retain some remnant of Buffalo-scented nostalgia this holiday season, I decided to combine my usual Christmas Eve lunch with the dinner that usually follows. Wings + pasta = Buffalo chicken pasta! And I ate it all on my couch with my balcony door open to let in the warm December breeze. It tasted like Christmas, but felt like Easter.
If none of you eat Buffalo wings for Christmas (why would you?) you should still make this pasta. It is tangy and spicy from the hot sauce, but cool from the blue cheese, rich and velvety from the cream, and very savory from the chicken, all of which perfectly compliments the heartiness of the thick and chewy pasta. I put some celery in as well to add some crunch, but it doesn't really add much in terms of flavor, which is all blue cheese and buffalo sauce deliciousness.
Butter Count: 4 Tbsp
1 batch of THIS PASTA
1 unseasoned rotisserie chicken
1 cup blue cheese dressing
3/4 cup Frank's red hot sauce
4 Tbsp butter
4 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1. Remove all of the meat from the rotisserie chicken. Put it in a large plastic bag with the blue cheese dressing and the hot sauce. Squish the bag around to combine the ingredients thoroughly.
2. Use a pasta extruder to make rigatoni or large macaroni with the pasta dough. I use the Kitchen Aide attachment.
3. Fill a large pot with water, add a generous amount of salt to it, and a splash of olive oil. Bring to a boil, add the pasta, and cook about 8 minutes until cooked through. The time will vary depending on the extruder thickness.
4. Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Drain the cooked pasta (reserve some of the pasta water) and add it to the butter. Add the chicken, blue cheese dressing, and hot sauce mixture to the pasta and mix thoroughly, still over medium heat. Add about 1/2 cup of pasta water and cook down until thick.
5. Sprinkle the Gorgonzola over the pasta and mix briefly. Serve immediately.