No need to bundle up and head out to your neighborhood bistro or BYOB for seafood-studded mac and cheese! Try this easy-to-follow recipe from the American Dairy Association North East.
Skip the powdered “cheese” that comes in the boxed brands, and learn once and for all how to make a simple roux with flour, butter and milk. It creates a silky, creamy base for the cheese sauce, and once you’ve made it once you can add it to your list of kitchen techniques!
Next, you’ll learn to make an Old Bay-infused cheese sauce (use local cheddar, if possible!) to compliment the tender chunks of crab. Pennsylvania is lucky to be home to numerous quality seafood purveyors, like Hill’s in Delaware and Chester Counties, Ippolito’s in South Philly, Southside Seafood in Wilkes Barre, Penn Ave. Fish Co. in Pittsburgh and Mr. Bill’s Seafood in Lancaster. Try real crab meat for a luxe take on this comfort food classic.
A quick spin in the oven with breadcrumbs and an extra sprinkle of cheese on top gives that addictive crunchy top that is the perfect contrast to the tender, gooey noodles below.
Crab Macaroni and Cheese
|Prep Time||Cook Time||Total Time|
|15 min||30 min||45 min|
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 and 1/2 cups PA sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
- 8 ounces crab meat (or imitation crab)
- 2 and 1/2 cups dry macaroni
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Mustard powder, to taste
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Chop crab meat into small chunks, set aside.
- Drain cooked macaroni and place in 9×9″ casserole dish.
- Start the sauce by making a roux: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. When melted and foamy, add the flour and whisk together to form a paste. Add milk in portions; continue to whisk until mixture is blended and creamy.
- Remove from the heat, then stir in salt, pepper, Old Bay and mustard, to liking. Mix 2 cups of the shredded cheese into the roux until melted. Add crab meat and stir to coat.
- Pour mixture over macaroni and cheese in the casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese.
- Bake in a 400° oven until topping is browned and cheese melts, approximately 30 minutes.
- Recipe: American Dairy Association North East
- Photo and video: Dish Works