Macaroni folded into cheesy deliciousness with succulent crab and a crisp topping makes this Crab Mac n Cheese a party on your plate.
The Making of Crab Mac n Cheese
It's Dungeness crab season! Hurray!
And the sweet crab is finally coming into the markets so we had to have some while we put up the Christmas tree, it's a family tradition. Brian goes to the store to get the crab while I string the lights, then memories abound as we unbox or unwrap each ornament and remember when we got it. Trevor is finally old enough to enjoy some bubbly (he has been an eggnog man in the past); a few kinds of cheese and it's a wonderful family time.
In this Crab Mac n Cheese, I use 5 different kinds of cheese but you don't have to.
Sending Dad to the store always results in an over-abundance of crab buying. Well, truth is, one crab is not quite enough, two is a bit too much, so I always have some leftover. And what to do with that left-over crab? There are many excellent ways to enjoy it, one of my favorites is Crab Mac n Cheese. Crab Mac n Cheese is one of those comfort foods that just makes winter so much more bearable. I use the same principle as I do with my Lindy's Favorite Mac n Cheese, a looser roux, and slightly undercooked macaroni, but with a plethora of delicious cheeses and of course, sweet Dungeness crab, it's a party on the plate.
Crab Mac n Cheese is one of those comfort foods that just makes winter so much more bearable.
In this Mac n Cheese, I use 5 different kinds of cheese. You don't have to, just keep the total amount of cheese the same so you can enjoy the cheesiness of the sauce. But if you were to cut it down in the number of cheese used, I would use the cheddar, either the Fontina or Havarti and then the Asiago and Gruyere. And if you have to take it down to 3 and 3 only, then cheddar, Fontina, and Gruyere.
There. Now it's simple. Right?
If Dungeness is not available to you, be sure to use good lump meat crab. Not that crap crab that they sell in the aisles of your supermarket. Refrigerated, lump meat crab. Accept no substitutes for the substitute of Dungeness.
Unless you wanted to use lobster?
Crab Mac n Cheese
- 1 pound fresh or high-quality refrigerated crab meat picked over for shells
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups 2% low-fat milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese grated
- 4 ounces Fontina cheese grated
- 4 ounces Havarti cheese grated
- 2 ounces asiago cheese grated
- 2 ounces gruyere cheese grated
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- ½ cup panko
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Heat the oven to 375º F. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat; melt the butter into the oil; add the flour and saute for a few minutes. Slowly add the milk and half and half; stirring until thickened. Slowly sprinkle in the cheeses, stir, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next one.
- Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling water; cook just slightly under the time indicated on the package (you want them to have a little bite to them as they will cook further in the sauce). Drain and keep warm.
- Lightly oil a 3-quart baking dish. When the macaroni is ready, fold it into the sauce. Add the crab and gently fold into the mixture (be gentle, you want as much of the crab to remain in large pieces). Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Pour into prepared baking dish.
- In another small bowl, combine the panko, oil, and parsley. Mix well; sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole. Place in the oven and bake 30 - 40 minutes, or until hot and lightly browned on top. Place under the broiler to further brown the top, if desired. Allow it to stand at least 5 minutes before serving.