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Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese

Photo: Colin Price; Styling: Emma Star Jensen

Total time 45 mins
Yield

Serves 4

While Dungeness crab may seem like a splurge for a weeknight, when you add it to this family favorite a little goes a long way.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces elbow pasta or medium-size shell pasta
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese (preferably using a Microplane, which makes the cheese fluffier)
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh or 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar
  • 12 ounces shelled, flaked Dungeness crab
  • 1 green onion, sliced 1/4 in. thick

Nutrition Information

  • calories 1018
  • caloriesfromfat 42 %
  • protein 59 g
  • fat 48 g
  • satfat 29 g
  • carbohydrate 88 g
  • fiber 3.6 g
  • sodium 1241 mg
  • cholesterol 185 mg

How to Make It

  1. Arrange an oven rack 5 in. from heat and preheat broiler. Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well, then rinse with cold water. Drain again and set aside.

  2. In a small bowl, mix panko, parmesan, oil, and thyme. Set aside.

  3. Melt butter in a large ovenproof frying pan over medium-high heat. Add flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne; cook, whisking, until bubbling and light tan, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add milk and cook, whisking, until small bubbles appear at edge of pan and sauce just begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add cheddar, and whisk until blended. Add crab and reserved pasta; toss gently to mix and heat through.

  4. Spread crab mixture evenly in pan and scatter with panko mixture. Transfer to oven and broil until bread crumbs are well browned, about 1 minute. Top with green onions.

  5. Wine pairing: Cinder 2015 Dry Viognier (Washington and Idaho; $18).