Mac & cheese is the ultimate comfort food. One of my friends was telling me about a crab mac-n-cheese she had at a new highly-rated restaurant. I thought I can out do this by putting cream cheese into the sauce, adding in sauteed scallions, and add in lots of seasonings like nutmeg, garlic, and cayenne. I used my favorite Italian corn pasta made by Le Veniziane. The taste, texture, and appearance of Le Veniziane proves to be the best time after time for me, and everyone loves it regardless if they are gluten-free or not.
I really like the idea of portioning out the six servings into individual ramekins. I only baked baked two in a toaster oven for a friend and me. Covered the remaining ramekins with plastic wrap and store in either the fridge and freezer. Either way, just pop them into the toaster oven to bake off for easy weeknight dinner or for visiting friends for dinner. Makes cleanup way easier, too. And using the toaster oven saves energy and time. I feel toaster overs are underrated. In my mind, they are adult Easy-Bake ovens. I hope you make and enjoy this recipe!
- 1 package (9 oz) of Le Veneniane Pipe Rigate or other GF pasta of your choice
- 45 grams (~1.5 tablespoons) butter
- 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
- 45 grams (~1.5 tablespoons) potato starch or flour
- seasonings to taste: salt, white pepper, nutmeg, garlic powder, cayenne, Old Bay, etc
- 2 cups of milk (whole or low fat)
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 6 oz can crab meat
- 8 oz of melting shredded cheese like Italian blend
Heat up a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add in the butter and chopped scallions, stir continuously. Cook until the scallions are slightly browned. Add in the potato starch/flour and stir until barely golden. Remove from heat. Slowly add in milk in 1/2 cup increments, stirring until homogeneous after each addition.
At this time, also get a large pot of salted water boiling for the pasta. Boil the pasta shy of the time instructed on package. We want the pasta more on the firm side of al dente since it will cook more in the oven. Strain and put aside with a small reserve of the pasta water if needed to loosen up the sauce.
Returning back to the sauce.... Once incorporated, turn up the heat to low-medium. The bechamel sauce should thicken up and come to a slight boil after a couple of minutes. Don't forget to stir constantly to ensure no clumps form. Turn the heat down again to low and add in about 1/2 to 2/3 of the cheese at once. It will take a few minute for it to incorporate with stirring. Then add in the creamed cheese in cut up pieces. Slowly work in. Add in the crab with the liquid (carefully remove that wierd paper encasing the crabmeat). Taste the sauce for seasonings and adjust as needed for your own personal preference.
Add in the pasta to now what is the mornay cheese sauce. Use a large wooden/silicone spoon to fold the pasta and sauce together until evenly distributed. If it is really thick, add in a little of the reserved pasta water as needed. Divide up the mac & cheese amongst 6 ramekins. Top all the mac & cheeses with the reserved cheese. If not cooking immediately, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in freezer or fridge. Cook uncovered in a 375F oven for 15 minutes or until the topping is a golden brown.
The Sensitive Epicure
This is part of Food Network's Comfort Food Fest. Check out The FN Dish. The comfort food we're focusing on here is comforting macaroni and cheese. Here are other delicious recipes to help keep you warm:
The Heritage Cook: Gluten-Free Cream Cheesy Risotto
The Mom 100: One Skillet Carroty Macaroni and Cheese
Daisy at Home: Squasheroni and Cheese
Creative Culinary: Smoked Gouda with Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
The Cultural Dish: New England (Lobster) Mac n' Cheese
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Curried Cauliflower and Greens Mac ’n Cheese
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cauliflower and Veggie "Mac" & Cheese
Red or Green: Mac & Cheese with Ham and Jalapenos
Swing Eats: Super Creamy Crab Mac-N-Cheese with Scallions (gluten-free)
Taste with the Eyes: Korean "Mac and Cheese" with Beef, Kimchi, Cheddar
Weelicious: Rice Cooker Mac and Cheese
FN Dish: Food Network Chefs' Takes on the Gooiest Mac and Cheese Ever