Decadent Pasta: Crab Mac & Cheese
Crab Mac & Cheese
Full disclosure: You might have a heart attack, your cholesterol levels might spike, and your waistline might expand after eating this decadent yet completely addictive take on mac & cheese. It’s an amalgam of béchamel sauce (butter and flour), crabmeat and Gouda, topped with panko, a coarse type of Japanese breadcrumbs. If you can, tread lightly and enjoy one tablespoon at a time.
- Serves 8
- 1 pound elbow pasta
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
- ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 quart whole milk
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 4 cups stock (chicken, fish or vegetable)
- 1 cup Gouda cheese, grated
- 2 cups cooked crabmeat
- 1½ cups panko or regular breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Position a rack in the middle of the oven.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 5–7 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Melt the butter in the same saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour, and whisk constantly over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour in the milk and add nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Raise the heat to medium and stir continually, until the sauce turns thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add the stock and cheese, and cook for 1 more minute, until the cheese melts. Remove from the heat.
- Add the cooked pasta and crabmeat to the pot with the sauce, and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a 9x13-inch casserole dish, sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the surface, and bake in the oven until lightly browned and bubbly, about 30–35 minutes.