I know I’m not alone when I say I can never grow tired of mac & cheese. What’s not to love? This mac is a combination of four different types of cheese and a healthy serving of jumbo lump crab meat. I used gruyere, fontina, white cheddar and brie as the cheese in this dish. The different mellow and sharp flavors work with each other to make the perfect cheese sauce for the cavatappi pasta. You can certainly use any type of noodle you prefer… I just happen to love this noodle for mac & cheese. There’s something about its curly hollow body that captures the cheese sauce inside and out. When you bite into the pasta, the cheese almost oozes out of the hollow center.. all while clinging to the outside as well. It’s perfect in my opinion. I definitely recommend this pasta if you haven’t bought it before.
So I know what you’re thinking, what should I serve this mac & cheese alongside? This mac can honestly go with so much. Pair it with a steak or chicken. Pair it with fried shrimp or seafood. It can go in any direction you wish. It would go wonderful alongside a burger or even a whole roasted chicken. Or you can eat it all by itself. Mac & cheese is naturally fulling… but I took it up a notch and added crab meat. This “side dish” can definitely pass as a main course.
What to pair it with:
GREEN BEANS WITH GARLIC BUTTER, BACON BITS & TOASTED ALMONDS
BALSAMIC DIJON GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN
BEER CAN ROASTED CHICKEN + BROWN GRAVY
CRAB MAC & CHEESE
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
- 1 lb. cavatappi pasta, cooked
- 1 1/4 cup gruyere cheese, grated
- 1 1/4 cup fontina cheese, grated
- 1 1/4 cup sharp white cheddar, grated
- 8 oz. double creme brie, rind removed and cut into small chunks
- 1 shallot, small dice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp butter, salted
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 small lemon, juice of
- 8 oz. jumbo lump crab meat (canned)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 pinch ground mustard powder
For topping: combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together.
- 1 sleeve ritz crackers, smashed into crumbs
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- 1/4 cup parmesan, grated
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Heat a large pot to medium heat. Add in butter and shallot. Let cook till onions are soft and translucent. About 3 minutes. From there, add in garlic and stir while it cooks for an additional 60 seconds.
- Add in flour and stir to combine with the onions garlic and butter. Let cook for another 90 seconds.
- Add in whole milk and turn heat up to medium high (or higher) so that the milk comes to a soft boil. This should take about 2 minutes. Once softly boiling, add in all 4 cheeses one handful at a time. Continue to stir while adding the cheese. This should take about 4-5 minutes.
- Once the cheese is melted and the sauce is thickened, turn the heat off. At this point add in lemon juice, crab meat, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and ground mustard. Stir to combine.
- Add in the cooked pasta and stir to coat each noodle with the cheese sauce. Transfer the mac & cheese to an oven proud pot or shallow dish. Sprinkle on the Ritz cracker topping and place the dish in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F. When the mac & cheese is ready it should be bubbling and the cracker topping should be golden and crispy. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.