Mariel here (on behalf of Mary Anne). This is a new take on a family favorite, courtesy of my multi-talented mamacita. While this is HER recipe, I decided to do her a solid and write the intro – I’m certainly not trying to pass off her work as my own… By now you probably know that her Crabcakes have become semi-famous, eliciting oohs, ahhs, and distended tummies from just about anyone lucky enough to try them. Her Corn & Crab Soup is another other-wordly creation and at any given moment, my freezer is stocked with a reserve supply. What I’m getting at here is that the woman has a way with crab, and this super decadent new dish is no different.
Rich and creamy, fresh and zesty, this Four Cheese Crab Macaroni will blow the socks off that electric-yellow variety you’ve been choking down since the second grade. This is what you call guest-worthy Mac & Cheese, the kind you’ll serve to a snooty flock of gourmands…or your discerning six-year-old. As the Memorial Day scramble approaches, we promise that this will keep a large crowd fat and happy – and keep you out of the kitchen. You can even serve this as a side dish or first course, in which case, it makes more like 15-20 servings. And one last note, if you’re not a crab fan, simply ditch it: this cheese stands alone.
Four Cheese Crab Macaroni Serves 10
Ingredients: 1-14 oz. package whole wheat elbow or shell macaroni – $1.59 4 Tablespoons sweet butter – stock 3 Tablespoons flour – stock 4 cups milk (I used 1%) – stock 8 ozs. Mascarpone cheese – $3.59 5 ozs. Fontina cheese, grated and divided – $3.12 5 ozs. Emmenthaler cheese, grated and divided – $2.99 3 ozs. white cheddar cheese, grated – $0.89 3 Tablespoons sherry – stock 3 Tablespoons reserved pasta water 1 Tablespoon olive oil – stock 2 large shallots, finely diced – $0.99 ¼ Teaspoon nutmeg 1 Teaspoon dried mustard – stock 1/8 Teaspoon cayenne, or to taste – stock 1 Teaspoon Old Bay – stock 1 Tablespoon Dijon-style mustard – stock 1 lb. lump crab meat – $11.99 12 grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced into thirds (optional) ½ cup fresh bread crumbs (optional) – stock paprika to garnish – stock Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Kitchen: $25.16 Total Per Serving: $2.51 Directions: 1. Butter a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 2. Prepare the pasta, but boil only for 4 minutes. Drain in a colander, reserving 3 Tablespoons of the cooking water. Refresh the cooked pasta under cold running water to stop the cooking process. 3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven/soup pot. Sauté the shallots over medium-high heat until translucent, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a small dish and set aside. 4. Using the same soup pot, prepare the roux. Melt the butter over medium-high flame. Whisk in the flour and continue stirring butter/flour mixture for about 2 minutes. Very gradually, add the milk, whisking constantly. Continue stirring/whisking until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes. 5. Remove the pot from the flame and add half of the Fontina and Emmenthaler, all of the Mascarapone and the cheddar. Stir in the sherry, reserved pasta water, nutmeg, mustards, Old Bay, shallots, and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper. 6. Gently fold in the crab meat and pasta. 7. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the edges are bubbling and golden. 8. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top evenly with the bread crumbs and sliced tomatoes. Turn the oven on to broil and place the casserole 4 inches from the flame. Broil until the bread crumbs are just golden, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika and serve hot.