Crab. Cheese. Pasta. Panko breadcrumbs. Do I need to say anything more than that? OK….when you combine all of that along with a few other ingredients and bake it up you end up with a glorious, creamy and crunchy mac and cheese!
I had really been craving some good homemade mac and cheese. I started thinking about what I happened to have on hand. Since there had recently been a great sale on cheese, I had plenty of that. So I first decided that I would do a combo of three cheeses, Swiss, cheddar and monterey jack. I also had some lump crab meat and I thought…..hmmmm……that would probably be awesome in mac and cheese. I thought some chopped tomato would also be a good compliment to the dish and finally, I had to top it off with a garlicy panko breadcrumb topping. Then because I’m a little (OK, a lot) obsessed with it, I drizzled some truffle oil over the top!
Well, everything came together and it was fantastic! Even Steve, who isn’t a big fan of mac and cheese (crazy, I know), thought it was really good. If you don’t happen to be a fan of crab, you could totally use cooked chicken instead and it would still be delicious. The truffle oil is also totally optional, it’s good with or without it.
Crab Mac and Cheese
- 8 oz whole wheat fusilli (or any short cut pasta that you like), cooked to al dente
- 4 tbsp butter, divided
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups milk (I used 1%)
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1 cup each shredded Swiss, cheddar and monterey jack cheeses
- 8 oz lump crab meat
- 2 large roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
- 2 tbsp parsley
- salt and pepper
- optional, truffle oil for drizzling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare breadcrumb topping. Melt 2 tbsp butter. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with parsley, garlic and melted butter, making sure that the breadcrumbs are well coated with the butter.
Seed and chop tomatoes. An easy way to seed the tomatoes is to cut them into quarters or eighths and then slice the seeds out with your knife.
In a large pot, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour over melted butter and whisk in. Cook for a couple of minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. Gradually whisk in milk, whisking constantly. Whisk in dry mustard, salt and pepper. Bring to a bubble and cook until thickened, while continuing to stir.
Remove white sauce from heat and stir cheese in, one handful at a time.
Stir in crab and tomatoes. Then stir in cooked pasta.
Spoon mixture into a 2 quart baking dish or into individual ramekins (I did a little of both). Sprinkle with breadcrumb topping.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes for the large baking dish, or about 25 minutes for individual ramekins, until topping is golden brown.
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