Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese is decadent and delicious. It’s one of those dishes that when people take their first bite they pause to savor it, leaving the dining room quiet with contemplation. I know you think I’m exaggerating but I promise I’m not. It has happened on more than one occasion! Try this one. You won’t regret it.
Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese
1 pound dried elbow pasta
3 cups whole milk, warmed
1/2 cup + 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, separated
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tsp kosher salt, separated
2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 lb cooked crabmeat, picked over for shells
6 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
4 cups grated Havarti cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 lemons, cut into wedges
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain the pasta again.
- Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
- Melt 6 Tbsp butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the crabmeat, 4 tsp of the Old Bay Seasoning, and 2 tsp salt to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Heat 1/2 cup butter over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. When the butter has just melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Slowly pour the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly. It will get very thick when you first add the milk, and thinner as you slowly pour the entire 3 cups.
- Once all the milk has been added, set the pot back over medium-high heat, and continue to whisk constantly. In the next 2 to 3 minutes the sauce should come together and become silky and thick. Lower the heat to medium and add 2 tsp salt, stir.
- Add the Havarti cheese, cooking over medium heat. Stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes. Add the crabmeat mixture and the cooked pasta, stir, and continue cooking while stirring continuously for another 5 minutes.
- Spoon the mixture into a large casserole dish (mine is 4.8 quarts). Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and then the panko. Lastly, sprinkle on the remaining 2 tsp of Old Bay Seasoning. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
- Spoon into serving bowls and serve with lemon wedges.
*adapted from Homeroom Restaurant in Oakland, CA