King Crab Macaroni and Cheese
Torchio pasta is named so because it looks like a little torch. But you can use any curly macaroni that will catch and hold all that rich, cheesy sauce. When buying the Alaskan King Crab, remember to account for the weight of the shells. You will need to buy 1 1/4 pounds to end up with ¾-pound crabmeat. "The crab meat adds an organic sweetness to the mac and cheese that plays real well against the sharp cheese. It's a perfect way to add a little luxury and extra richness to this classic comfort dish," says Delmonico's Restaurant Executive Chef Billy Oliva.
- 1 lb of Torchio pasta
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 8 tbsp of butter
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 4 scallions, sliced thin on bias
- 1 cup of small red and yellow peppers, diced & mixed (about 1/2 of each pepper)
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp of Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 3/4 lb of Alaskan King Crab, shelled & cleaned
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup of non-fat half and half
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tbsp of all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup smoked gouda cheese, grated
- 1 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup of panko crumbs
- salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and blanch for about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta, shock with cold water, drain again, and set aside.
For the Vegetables:
In a medium saucepan, heat oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add shallots, scallions, red and yellow peppers, garlic, parsley, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and cook until vegetables soften, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove from heat, and gently fold crab into vegetable mixture, set aside.
For the Cheese Sauce:
In a small saucepan or microwave, heat together the heavy cream, non-fat half and half, and the 2 bay leaves. Heat until steamy but not boiling. Remove bay leaves before using. In another saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over a low heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to cook out the flour taste.
Slowly whisk in the hot milk, making sure to avoid lumps. Season with nutmeg, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Cook until sauce thickens and can coat the back of a spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the 1/2 cup smoked gouda and 1 cup parmesan cheese. Remove the saucepan from the heat and continue stirring until all the cheese has melted into the sauce.
For the Panko Topping:
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Toss the melted butter with the Panko crumbs. Set aside.
To Assemble Mac & Cheese:
Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF. Combine the pasta with the hot cheese sauce until well mixed. Fold in the crab-vegetable mixture. Transfer mac and cheese into a large baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the buttered Panko topping. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4-cup Parmesan cheese. Bake in pre-heated oven until mac and cheese is heated through and the crust is golden brown, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve while bubbling.