Tuna Tuesday: Baked Crab Mac-n-Cheese

8 Feb

Here is what I have decided. People who have said that seafood and cheese don’t go together are idiots. I have proven them wrong in the past with the Tuna Chowder and now with this fan-freaking-tastic crab mac-n-cheese. Honestly. you people are lucky this post has even made it to the computer because I am very tempted to go lock myself in my room with a fork and devour this entire dish by myself. Of course, I would have to go buy new pants after that.

This dish is perfect for Valentine’s Day whether you are celebrating with someone or not ( carbs make you happy!)It’s decadent, it’s rich, it’s flavorful and delicious. It is not , however, light. Not even a little. But just think of all the calcium you will be eating. That’s good for you… right?

So, as you have probably figured, this dish is also a splurge because cheese is not cheap and there is a lot of cheese in this dish. Good cheese. Oooey, gooey, wonderful cheese. But! This is still a much less expensive dinner option than dining out. Serve this fabulous mac-n-cheese up with a salad and a nice glass of wine and your lover will be a slave to your bidding. And that’s the real goal here. Love slave.

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Baked Crab Mac-n-Cheese

serves 4

1/2 pound medium pasta shells

4 T unsalted butter, plus the wrapper for the casserole dish

3 slices loaf bread

1 3/4 cup milk mixed with 1 cup light cream

2 T minced fresh parsley

1/2 t. garlic powder

1 T grated Parmesan cheese

1 t. kosher salt

1/4 c. AP flour

1 t. kosher salt

1/8-1/4 t. cayenne

1/2 t. ground mustard

1/2 t. old bay

1 t. kosher salt

2 c. medium cheddar, grated ( grate your own, please!!!)

1 c. Fontina, grated ( I know, it’s a splurge, but trust me)

2 (6 oz) cans crab meat, drained (I used one “fancy lump” and one “fancy white”)

Preheat oven to 375. Set a large pot of water on to boil. Cook pasta for about 5 minutes or until the outside is cooked but the inside is underdone. Drain and rinse, set aside.

Meanwhile, tear your bread into pieces, place in a food processor and make bread crumbs. Melt 1 T of butter and toss with breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Add parsley, garlic powder, Parmesan and 1 t. kosher salt to the crumbs and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream until the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. ( Hey! You just made a Bechamel sauce!!!)

Remove from the heat and stir in cayenne, old bay, mustard, and 1 t. salt. Stir in cheese until it has all melted. Taste and add salt if necessary.

In a large bowl, stir pasta, cheese sauce and crab meat together well.

Using the wrapper from the butter, grease the bottom and sides of a 1.5 quart casserole dish. Pour the mac-n-cheese into the dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until top is browned and mac-n-cheese is bubbly.

Serve and enjoy!!

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9 Responses to “Tuna Tuesday: Baked Crab Mac-n-Cheese”

  1. Heather@At The Picket Fence February 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    Oh yummy!  I totally agree with you on the seafood/cheese thing…it’s a crock if you ask me.  I put seafood in all types of cheese based dishes.  This looks soooo good!  I will be trying it for sure!

  2. Belinda @zomppa February 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    I’m not sure I would want to share this with ANYONE!

  3. Mary February 9, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    This really is a lovely recipe. I’m new to your blog and have just finished browsing through some of your earlier entries. I really like the food and recipes you feature here.I’ll definitely be back. Have a great evening. Blessings…Mary

    • jodiemo February 9, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by Mary. I hope to see you around again soon!

  4. Mat February 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    I’m more of a cooking enthusiast, not something i do often, but when i do, I prefer to find unique and awesome recipes. I’ve been seeing lobster mac-n-cheese at restaurants being served alot anymore and its fantastic so this is right up my alley.

    My attempt to cook it failed since, as i said I don’t cook alot, i read your directions and saw your ingredients included both milk AND light cream. i assumed that you forgot to include in the directions when to add in the cream, but as soon as i got to the melting cheese section (having added the cream in when the milk went in), i assume the cream is merely a substitute for milk? am I right in my assumption that cream is to be used as an option other than milk?

    I intend to retry this tomorrow because everything up to then smells awesome and now im hungry…..

    • jodiemo February 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

      Thanks for catching the typo Mat. The cream and milk go in together at the same time. I used both cream and milk together for the base of the bechamel sauce. You could use just milk or just cream or even half and half (which is essentially what milk and cream together are). After the sauce thickens ( think thin pancake batter) you stir in the cheese until everything melts. THen add the sauce to the cooked pasta. Add in the crab. Pour in to the buttered dish. Top with breadcrumbs and bake.
      Sorry for any confusion. I hope the next try comes out!

  5. TIffany August 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    I’d like to swap the Fontina for Havarti, what do you think? :)

    • jodiemo August 20, 2011 at 7:39 am #

      Do it! I’m sure it will be fantastic!

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