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Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Consider this the romanticized version of your favorite dip. There are a handful buffalo chicken pastas out there, but this one is different. For starters this recipe doesn’t take the exact ingredients for the beloved dip and throw pasta in. It is not thick and chunky and very clear that you are eating a block of cream cheese and a cup of hot sauce. Instead this buffalo chicken pasta is velvety and smooth. It leans on the flavor of hot sauce bringing more flavor than heat, but isn’t overly sour. Considering that it doesn’t involve throwing 8oz of cream cheese and a block of cheddar cheese it is remarkably light. If you are looking for the classic in your face buffalo sauce pasta then this is not the recipe to try. However, if you are looking for a sauce inspired by and reminiscent of the classic and you have 30 minutes then you need to try this.

Dairy + Vinegar = Oh No…

Have you ever mixed vinegar or lemon juice into dairy? Or even have you ever had buffalo chicken dip straight from the oven and it’s… kind of chunky? Yes, if you don’t know already acid and milk don’t get along and if not incorporated properly the acid will curdle the dairy, leaving a not so great texture. Dont get me wrong in some cases you want to curdle dairy ie. when making cheese or homemade buttermilk. While we do not add milk to this dish there is milk and cream in Boursin. Have no fear, there are ways to get around it, in fact if you have made my Lemon Caper Pasta then you have already encountered this.

If you take anything from what I said above it’s follow the directions below.

bowl of buffalo chicken pasta

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What You’ll Need for Buffalo Chicken Pasta

  • Pasta + Pasta Water – As always players choice here. Since this is a more playful pasta sauce I decided to go with farfalle (bow tie pasta), but any macaroni would work.
  • Franks Red Hot – You are looking for Franks Red Hot sauce, not wing sauce. Wing sauce already has butter added in it which we do not need since we are adding it in at the start. Substitute with caution, there really is no other hot sauce that gives you that iconic buffalo flavor than Franks.
  • Boursin Cheese – Boursin comes in a few flavors, but you are looking for the garlic and fine herbs flavor (green box). With garlic, parsley, and chives this flavor delivers a similar flavor profile that ranch dressing would without pouring in the dressing. Best part? It is also the ingredient that makes this pasta creamy, killing 2 birds with one stone.
  • Garlic – Fresh only!
  • Chicken Broth – Vegtable is an okay substitute.
  • Paprika – Since we are adding heat with the Franks Red Hot, avoid hot smoked paprika. Instead regular or even sweet paprika are great choices.
  • Butter
close up of buffalo chicken pasta

Step by Step for Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Boil the Pasta – This seems obvious, but if you don’t already know, pasta needs to be boiled in salty water. Not only does it give the pasta flavor, but that salty water will be added to the sauce. If you are ever wondering why I don’t say salt the sauce it is because we added in starchy salty pasta water. Always save more water than you need. I always advise in the recipe how much to add and save in case you want to thin the sauce out or if it reduced too much and need to add more to loosen it up.

Sauté + Build the Sauce Foundation – In a pot over medium to low heat melt the butter. Once melted and bubbly add in the garlic and paprika and sauté until soft and fragrant (about 2-3 minutes). Add in the flour and cook for 3-5 minutes mixing every 10-20 seconds to ensure the flour doesn’t burn. We aren’t making a thick roux here 2 tbsp to 3 tbsp of butter. Not only are we cooking the raw flour, but cooking down the roux allows for a smoother sauce when the broth is added. No lumps here! Add the broth and cook until it starts to thicken (approx 1-2 minutes). Add the pasta water, this is why we started to cook the pasta before starting the sauce, and cook for 2-3 minutes allowing the sauce to come to a simmer.

Make it BuffaloTURN OFF THE HEAT. Sorry for the caps, but this is the step that stops the sauce from curdling. Wait 2-3 minutes until the sauce no longer bubbles and add in the Franks Hot Sauce. Mix to combine and add in the Boursin, crushing it with the back of a spoon and mixing to combine. This will take a minute to melt into the sauce. Add in the pasta and serve!

A Few Tips

  • While there is no chicken added directly to this buffalo chicken pasta, feel free to add precooked chicken. Grilled chicken or even shredded rotisserie chicken are great, easy adds.
  • This dish is best served immediately, as with all cream sauces.

Looking for more pasta recipes? Check out the below!

Pancetta Pink Sauce
Miso Chipotle Pasta
Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Orzo

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Print Recipe
Consider this the romanticized version of one of your favorite dips. Velvety, smooth, and remarkably light.
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword 30 minute meal, Pasta
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb pasta farfalle is used in the photos
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp paprika regular or sweet. avoid hot.
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup pasta water reserve 1 cup just in case
  • 1/4 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce original flavor
  • 1 package Boursin – garlic + fine herbs 5.2oz box

Instructions

  • Cook pasta as per instructions in salty water. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain and place on the side.
  • In a pot over medium to low heat melt the butter. Once melted and bubbly add in the garlic and paprika and sauté until soft and fragrant, approx. 2-3 minutes. If garlic begins to brown lower the heat.
  • Add in the flour and cook for 3-5 minutes mixing every 10-20 seconds to ensure the flour doesn't burn. Flour will make a thin, loose paste.
  • Add the broth and cook until it starts to thicken, approx. 1-2 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of pasta water and cook for 3-4 minutes allowing the sauce to come to a simmer. If the sauce thickens too much feel free to add more pasta water 1 tbsp at a time. Salt to taste depending on how salty the pasta water was.
  • TURN OFF THE HEAT, and allow the sauce to stop bubbling. Let the sauce cool for 2-3 minutes before adding in the Franks hot sauce.
  • Add in the Boursin, crushing it with the back of a spoon and mixing to combine. This will take a minute or two for the cheese to completely melt into the sauce.
  • Add in the pasta and mix to coat. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • While there is no chicken added directly to this buffalo chicken pasta, optional to add in sliced grilled chicken breast or shredded rotisserie chicken.
  • To make melting the Boursin a little easier take it out of the fridge at minimum in the beginning of cooking, recommended 10-15 minutes before.

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