Crab Mac and Cheese

Serves: 8
Sea salt
Greek olive oil
2 cloves garlic – minced
1 medium sweet onion – diced
1 pound Jumbo Lump Crabmeat
½ cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
I pint heavy cream
1 cup half and half
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley + additional for garnishing
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
4 ounces shredded Parmesan
12 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni – cooked al dente
1 cup (or more if needed) reserved pasta water
4 ounces cream cheese

Buttered Panko bread crumbs (about 1 ½ cups)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the water.

Heat enough olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat to sauté the onion and garlic. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the crab and cook, stirring occasionally, until the crab starts to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Scoop the contents of the skillet into a bowl and set aside.

Deglaze the skillet with the sherry and reduce slightly. Add the butter to melt, then add the flour and cook, stirring, until there are no remaining clumps. Whisk in the heavy cream, milk, parsley, tarragon, thyme, mustard and paprika, followed by the Gruyere, Parmesan and 8 ounces of the Cheddar cheese. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and simmer on low until the mixture has thickened. Season with salt and pepper

Meanwhile, add the elbow macaroni to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. Reserve 1 – 2 cups of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and return to the pot, making certain that you leave at least ½ cup of the pasta water in the pot. Add the cheese sauce, cream cheese and crab and mix well. Add some pasta water 1/4 cup at a time, to loosen the mixture, as the pasta will soak up the sauce. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.

Pour the mixture into a buttered 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 4 ounces Cheddar cheese and buttered Panko bread crumbs (about 1 ½ cups) to cover evenly over the top. Bake until the bread crumb and cheese topping starts to turn brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.


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