Since the Kraft Company started boxing macaroni and cheese back in 1937 the dish has become a dietary staple of almost every child growing up in the US. The most popular theory regarding the origin of mac and cheese is that of Thomas Jefferson. It is said that Jefferson returned from a trip to Italy with a pasta machine that his daughter, Mary Randolph, used to combine macaroni noodles and parmesan cheese to create the staple dish. Eventually the parmesan was replaced by cheddar cheese. At least that’s how the story goes.
While mac and cheese is a simple comfort food, that does not mean you can’t elevate it with your own cheese sauces and by adding additional ingredients like bacon, lobster, truffle, or in the case of this recipe some delicious jumbo lump crab meat! Follow these steps and you will be making some restaurant quality mac and cheese for you and your dinner guests.
- 4 cups elbow macaroni
- 8 tablespoons butter (divided)
- 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 1/2 cups gruyere cheese (Shredded)
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 16 ounces lump crab meat (Jumbo-)
- 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Olive oil for boiling macaroni noodles
- Start by preheating your oven to 350*
- Bring a pot of water or sauce pan to a boil and pour in the elbow macaroni along with about 1 tbsp of salt and a 2 tbsp of olive oil (this will help the noodles from sticking to eachother).
- Cook the macaroni until slightly undercooked, still mostly crunch/al dente then drain and spray with cool water to stop the noodles from cooking any further.
- Remove the crab meat from its container, rinse, dry with paper towels on a plate and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- In a separate saucepan (medium size if available) melt 6 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium-high heat.
- Stir in flour to thicken the butter (you are now making what is called a roux).
- Slowly add in the milk and stir vigorously until the milk and roux have fully combined and the mixture heats up. (your roux has now become a béchamel sauce!)
- Gradually add in the gruyere cheese (no more than 1 cup at a time) until all of the gruyere cheese has been added and melted. Then do the same with the cheddar. You can tweak the ratio of gruyere to cheddar based on your personal preferences.
- Once all of the cheese is melted add in the seasoned crab meat and cook for an additional 2 – 3 minutes to allow crab flavor to saturate the cheese sauce with crabby goodness.
- Next add in the par cooked macaroni noodles and stir until the macaroni is fully coasted in the cheese sauce.
- Lightly grease a 9” x 13” (or close to) glass baking dish with butter or nonstick cooking spray and slowly empty out the mac and cheese mixture into the dish.
- Sprinkle the parmesan over top of the mac and cheese and then melt the 2 tbsp of butter still left and brush it over the parmesan cheese.
- Cover the dish in foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 – 45 minutes covered, then remove foil and bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes.
That’s it. You are now a master of crab mac and cheese! Enjoy.
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