Sunday, February 21, 2016

Brandon's Famous Crab Mac-and-Cheese

As the mother of a busy toddler, one of my go-to lunches is mac and cheese. Sure, the stuff from the blue box isn't the healthiest, but after I sprinkle on a spoonful of Chia seeds (my son has come to expect Chia seeds on anything I serve him -- that's a sneaky health tip for you all!) we're good to go.

If you prefer to avoid the blue box, powdered cheese stuff (which is probably wise) and like a better, more grown-up version of this childhood favorite, you will want to make my husband's incredible baked crab mac-and-cheese.

Please note: This recipe has been adapted from Ina Garter.

  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 quart milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 ounces Swiss cheese, grated (4 cups)
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 pounds cooked crab meat
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
  1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Swiss, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crab and stir well. Place the mixture in 11 x 7 baking dish.
  4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top. 

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