I don’t know about you, but when I think of a fancy meal, I often find my mind wondering toward something that includes crab. So, when Jim said that he would like steak and mac and cheese included in our New Year’s Eve plan, I knew just the way to make everyone happy. Alongside the Two-Bite Beef Wellingtons, I would serve some crab mac and cheese in mini-muffin form.
This recipe from Closet Cooking was a delicious find that I only slightly adapted, and that was due to my being cheap more than anything else. See, the original recipe includes gruyere and fontina cheeses, and when I found them at the store, they cost me almost $20, and I wasn’t prepared to spend that much on one part of one recipe. The block of white brick cheese I chose worked perfectly, as it was mild and smooth and let the spices and crab shine in this cheesy dish, at about a quarter of the price of the originally called for cheeses.
- 1 lb Small Pasta, shells, macaroni, etc., cooked to al dente
- 5 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, divided
- 2 cloves Garlic
- ½ – 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
- 2 Tbsp Flour
- 2 cups Milk
- ½ cup Cream
- ½ tsp Seafood Seasoning, Old Bay or similar
- 2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp Mustard, whole grain
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper, freshly ground
- 12 oz. White Brick Cheese, shredded
- 1 6 oz. can Lump Crabmeat
- 4 Green Onions, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- ¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a pan. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant, about a minute.
- Mix in the flour and cook until it turns a light golden brown in color.
- Add the milk and cream and cook until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the old bay seasoning, mayonnaise, mustard and season with salt and pepper.
- Mix in the cheese and cook until it melts.
- Mix in the pasta, crab and green onions and remove from heat.
- Melt the remaining butter in a pan.
- Add the breadcrumbs and toss to coat, remove from heat and mix in the Parmigiano reggiano.
- Pour the mac and cheese into a baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs.
- Bake in a preheated 350⁰ oven until golden brown on top and bubbling on the sides, about 20-30 minutes.