Creamy Baked Crab Macaroni and Cheese Recipe | What’s Cooking
Indulge your inner child while making your grown-up palate happy. Our recipe for baked crab macaroni and cheese casserole isn’t stingy on the crab, with a whole pound stuffed under a golden-brown herbed panko crust. We like to reach for orecchiette pasta, because each cup-shaped noodle is like a little ladle for our creamy fontina cheese sauce (though opting for Gruyère wouldn’t be a bad idea either).
We serve this comforting dish at our Nordstrom Grills (drop in for a bite!), but our recipe makes re-creating this super-popular dish easy enough for a weeknight meal at home and decadent enough to make an impressive dinner for entertaining—especially if you want to get extra fancy and bake each serving in an individual crock.
Crab Macaroni and Cheese
From our Nordstrom Grill and Family Table Cookbook
(Makes 6 servings)
1 pound orecchiette pasta
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 2/3 cups half-and-half
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Italian fontina d’Aosta or domestic fontina
Freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 pound crabmeat, preferably jumbo lump, picked over for shell bits
Finely chopped fresh chives for garnish
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish or 6 ovenproof crocks.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, stir well, and cook according to the package directions until al dente.
- Meanwhile, melt 5 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and let bubble without browning for 1 minute. Whisk in the half-and-half and wine. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, whisking often, until smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the fontina. Season generously with salt and white pepper.
- Melt the remaining butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.
- Drain the pasta and return to the cooking pot. Add the fontina sauce and stir well. Stir in the crab. Spread in the prepared baking dish or divide among the crocks. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup fontina and top with the panko mixture. Place the baking dish or crocks on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake until the mixture is bubbling, about 25 minutes (or about 20 minutes for the crocks). Let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives and serve.
Try these recipes and others at a Nordstrom restaurant near you, and find more recipes to make at home in our What’s Cooking series and Nordstrom cookbooks (available in selected Nordstrom restaurants and Ebars).
Have a favorite dish or beverage from our restaurants or cookbooks that you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments!
—Jeff Powell (Photos and Intro)