Super delicious, dreamy mac and cheese that tastes just like she-crab soup but amped up with tons of cheese and pasta. She-crab mac and cheese is the mac and cheese we've all been waiting for! This is perfect for a cozy weekend, Valentine's Day, or even Christmas Eve.
- 16 ounces short-cut pasta, cooked to al dente and drained, one cup pasta water reserved.
- 16 ounces lump crab, picked through for any shell bits
- 16 ounces fontina cheese, grated
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon sweet/mild paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay or other seafood seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- extra salt, pepper, lemon wedges
- Preheat the oven to 425F and the pasta pot (or another large pot) from boiling the noodles to medium heat.
- Add the butter, onion, garlic, spices, and tomato paste to the pot. Stir to combine until the mixture is sizzling, then sprinkle over the flour. Whisk together to form a paste.
- Very slowly pour in the stock, whisking as you go, to create a thickened sauce. Pour in the cream and continue to stir.
- Let the mixture come just to a simmer, then stir in the fontina cheese 1 handful at a time until it melts, reserving 1 cup of grated cheese. When the she-crab soup base (and mac and cheese base) is done, turn the stove off.
- Add the pasta, crab, and remaining cheese to the pot. Stir gently to combine and taste: add more salt, pasta water, or cream to your preference. The mixture should be saucy but not soupy.
- Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and sprinkle with the panko and black pepper.
- Bake the she-crab mac and cheese for 15-20 minutes until bubbly, then serve with flaky salt, olive oil, cracked pepper, and lemon wedges.
Since there is a good amount of stirring involved in making a cheese sauce, I measure everything for this recipe in advance, then stir + sip wine + chat while I make this. I find it very enjoyable.
This recipe is crab-forward, and the container I purchased happened to be 16 ounces. If you find 10oz, 12oz or similar that looks good to you feel free to decrease the quantity a bit!
Make in advance: Do everything but the final baking step, then keep in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking. Baking time will be a bit longer, but 30 minutes or so until hot and bubbly should do the trick!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: she-crab soup recipe, mac and cheese recipe