Pasta, Seafood

Spicy Crab and Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese

spicy-crab-and-roasted-red-pepper-mac-and-cheese

Now before you say anything  just hear me out. Yes, Mac and Cheese is a family favorite. Yes it is a dish of perfection with the perfect proportion of cheese to pasta and Yes it is one of those dishes that is better left alone because again who wants to mess with perfection- right? Oh Me! Pick Me! I wanted to and I did mess with perfection this past week and I swear if this wasn’t the most outstanding dish I have ever made. My husband who is kind of a New Orleans food snob (he believes any type of meal or dish or dessert that he has in his beloved city of New Orleans is the best and nothing can compare- try living with that kind of pressure!) so when he said this was better than the Lobster Mac and Cheese he had at Commander’s Palace a few years ago I took a deep breath, stood up and graciously took a bow. At that moment the world stood still and I could breathe for the first time! Okay, not really but I was super excited and so giddy that I couldn’t wait to share it with you all!

Now how do you top a classic American favorite that both you and the kids will relish. Simple, add sweet bites of crab and the charred taste of roasted red peppers (which also tend to be a little sweet) and you have a fantastic twist on a simple weekday meal. When I am making a cheese sauce I like to use more than one type of cheese for the sake of variety and to increase the flavor. Instead of using just cheddar I thought  I would up the level of cheesiness (is that a word?) and incorporate two of my favorite cheeses along with the cheddar which is Muenster and Pepper Jack. Bet you have heard those words on here before.

A little spicy Dijon mustard and a hint of white wine gave the dish an interesting and spicy flavor along with cayenne and red pepper flakes. The stars of the dish had to be the crab and roasted red peppers. Crab is already amazing just by itself but sauteed in a touch of butter and garlic brings it to a whole other level that worked absolutely perfectly alongside the cheese sauce. The late comer-roasted red peppers- were a last minute addition to the dish before popping it in the oven but their flavor was spot on and certainly stole the show. A layer of toasted bread crumbs in the end made this dish the most exciting and delicious meal I have honestly ever made! You must try this- I promise it is perfect for the whole family.

I am also submitting this to my new favorite recipe linky called Presto Pasta Nights headed up by Ruth of Recipes from 4 Every Kitchen!

[print_this]

Spicy Crab and Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

32 ounces of your favorite small pasta (I used shells)

8 ounces of fresh crab meat

1/3 cup roasted red pepper (jarred) minced

5 tbsp. butter, unsalted

3 1/2 TBSP all-purpose flour

2½ cups whole milk, warm to the touch

3-4 tsp spicy dijon mustard

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup white wine or you could use cooking white wine or chicken broth

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp. salt and pepper each

1/2 tsp cajun seasoning

1/4 tsp paprika

3 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

3 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded

4 oz. muenster cheese, shredded

breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

Toast breadcrumbs in 1 TBSP butter in small skillet over stove until nice and golden brown. Set aside and mix with the parmesan cheese.

Saute the crab and minced garlic in 1 TBSP of butter for 3-4 minutes. Set aside.

In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.Pour in milk, white wine, Worcestershire and mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low. Add the remaining seasonings and then cheeses ( a little cheese at a time) until all cheese is melted. Adjust taste if necessary with more or less salt.

Pour into a greased 9×13 inch baking pan and cover with the toasted breadcrumbs and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes covered with foil, then remove foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the top of nice and golden brown.

[/print_this]


51 Comments

  1. Cooking Creation

    I’m seeing lots of mac n cheese circulating today. Yours looks and sounds soooooo good, especially with the roasted red peppers and crab! When it’s not so hot out, I’m going to bake this one 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  2. Shawn

    O~M~GOODNESS! I don’t know if I can hold out until the weekend to make this divine dish! This is complete “mind crack”…You imagine the rush you’ll get while eating it before you even make it!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  3. Maris (In Good Taste)

    Looks beyond amazing!!! Fantastic!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  4. Cool Gal

    Oh, my!!! That looks divine. I LOVE mac & cheese and I LOVE crab, too! 🙂

    01 . Jun . 2011
  5. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking

    Oh this just looks beyond awesome!! Thanks for entering my eco friendly giveaway this morning.

    01 . Jun . 2011
  6. My Carolina Kitchen

    Better than Commander’s Palace? I think you got two thumbs up and then some. What a fabulous compliment and consider where it came from!

    I’m using roasted red peppers more and more and I really like them in this dish. And crab always makes everything better.

    Thank you for stopping by my kitchen and following along. I look forward to getting to know you better. I see deliciousness everywhere in your blog. I’m a southern gal and I look forward to more of your southern goodness.
    Sam

    01 . Jun . 2011
  7. Kelli

    Crab and Mac & Cheese…Ok enough said you have my full attention! Love it!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  8. anne

    Oh my gosh that looks fantastic! thanks for sharing, anne

    01 . Jun . 2011
  9. Greg

    Who could argue with this? I love the idea of crab meat in mac and cheese. And I’m originally from Maryland where crab is king. Does that count?

    01 . Jun . 2011
  10. Helene

    I eat in New Orleans and they have pretty good food. This looks fantastic. What a compliment from your husband.

    01 . Jun . 2011
  11. yummychunklet

    I love the sound of your mac n’ cheese makeover! I’ve been wanting to make a more sophisticated version of mac n’ cheese and was leaning towards Ina Garten’s lobster version, but I may have to try yours first. It looks delicious!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  12. Mary

    What a great idea! I’m so glad you did share this with us, my mouth started watering when looking at the pictures! I would never have thought of this – so thanks for a great recipe
    Mary

    01 . Jun . 2011
  13. Lindsay Rudolph

    This looks wonderful! I love a grown-up, gourmet version of a classic dish. Well done, woman!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  14. Shell

    This looks amazing! My mouth is watering!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  15. daphne

    that is one awesome jazzed up version of mac and cheese! and wayyyy so much better. it’s posh too! it has crab. Love how you grated the cheese and use of spicy djon mustard. ooo.. your kids and hubby are so lucky to have you to make dinner for them!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  16. Lyn

    The title of this post is already mouth-watering! I love CHEEEESY foods! 😀

    01 . Jun . 2011
  17. Alli

    crab + gooey cheese + pasta = heaven! What a compliment from the hubby. I can’t imagine after looking at the photos there being a better version.

    01 . Jun . 2011
  18. Torrie @ a place to share...

    One of my favorite meals on the PLANET!!!

    My cousin adds dijon & worshistire, but I’ve never added white wine… I will definitely try that next time. I’m always in favor of adding a little wine to any dish :).

    Soooooo, I made your dessert (this time with nectarines) for a 3rd time this past weekend (for a party at my grandma’s)… Everyone LOVED it.

    01 . Jun . 2011
  19. Erica

    Crab and Mac N Cheese- two things I LOVE! What a combo! I’ve actually never had lobster macaroni and cheese, but I bet I’d love that too. And gotta love a nice little crunchy top!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  20. Linda

    Oooh you had me at Spicey! Then add cheese and macaroni and I’m totally sold. I so agree, sometimes you just can’t improve on a good thing!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  21. Leslie *Fresh Out of Lemons*

    Just the title of this post quickly got my attention! Pinning. 🙂

    01 . Jun . 2011
  22. Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers

    Oooh man that looks awesome! That recipe seems definitely worthy of messing with the mac.

    01 . Jun . 2011
  23. val

    I know I’ve said this a few times but…..WE really do need to be neighbors. There is a house for sale on my Rd. =)))

    01 . Jun . 2011
  24. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite

    This sounds like THE perfect summer mac & cheese! I love crab in any form, and obviously adore mac & cheese…wow, I cannot wait to try this one!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  25. sara@domesticallychallenged

    Cool! We had some Mac and Cheese at the Wilde restaurant in Chicago last weekend that was to die for! THis looks just as good!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  26. Sandie

    Wow- that looks decadent. Your photos have my mouth watering for this. Beautiful.
    Best, Sandie

    01 . Jun . 2011
  27. Grumpy Grateful Mom

    Oh my! That looks so good to me. I think I could eat that daily. Yum!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  28. Annabel Manners

    This looks insanely decadent and delicious. Pair it with a good sauvignon blanc and a crisp green salad and it’s a dinner party slam-dunk!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  29. Shea

    I love mac & cheese! (Who doesn’t right?) But I have never tried it with crab before! It sounds so delicious and so gourmet! I’ll have to try that!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  30. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes

    Looks like the perfect comfort food! I know my family would love it too. Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog!

    01 . Jun . 2011
  31. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book

    Now this a decadent Mac and Cheese! Fabulous recipe.
    🙂 Mandy

    02 . Jun . 2011
  32. Maria @ Scandifoodie

    This looks like perfect comfort food for our cooler months!

    02 . Jun . 2011
  33. Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray (formerly Rachel's Recipe Reviews)

    Oh my goodness! This looks so good. My husband and I were talking last night about “last meals” (I know, a little morbid) and I said mac and cheese would have to be mine. Might just be this version! 🙂

    02 . Jun . 2011
  34. Kristy

    Oh this would be a winner in our house. The kids LOVE mac & cheese and most of us LOVE crab too. So would your husband say this counts as a New Orleans food when we pick that as our cooking destination? I’m going to make sure we make this one soon.

    02 . Jun . 2011
  35. ModernMom

    I must start reading your blog in the pm, it’s unnatural to crave MacNCheese in the morning! lol

    02 . Jun . 2011
  36. lindsay

    shut-up! running out the door right now to make this!!

    02 . Jun . 2011
  37. C.E. Hart

    Too bad I don’t like seafood. This looks delicious! lol Have you tried it with chicken? I wonder… Hmmm

    I’m starving. lol

    02 . Jun . 2011
  38. Pure Complex

    Adding crab to this mac and cheese definitely sets this dish apart from your normal mac and cheese. I love it. I can’t wait to try this out. Wonderful blog and recipe.

    02 . Jun . 2011
  39. Amanda

    PHENOMENAL Looking!

    02 . Jun . 2011
  40. sweetlife

    I bet this would have all the adults drooling !! yummy!!

    02 . Jun . 2011
  41. Lucy@The Sweet Touch

    Oh sweet yumminess! I love a good mac n cheese, especially with a crispy topping:)

    02 . Jun . 2011
  42. Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons

    crabby perfection!!!! YUM!

    02 . Jun . 2011
  43. Ruth

    It certainly does look fabulous and I can’t wait to try it. I’m just drooling! Thanks for sharing with . I do hope to see more of your pasta dishes on our weekly lineup.

    03 . Jun . 2011
  44. Khara

    Love the experimentation!

    03 . Jun . 2011
  45. Mama K

    Those look delicious!! My husband would absolutely love them! 🙂

    03 . Jun . 2011
  46. Mama K

    Oops…don’t know how that happened…the above comment was for the nutella/caramel brownies 🙂

    03 . Jun . 2011
  47. Melynda@Moms Sunday Cafe

    Mac and Cheese dressed up to the “nines”! Thanks for sharing this great recipe with Cookbook Sundays, and now following. I cannot have too many great cooks to dream with!

    06 . Jun . 2011
  48. Couscous & Consciousness

    I love mac and cheese – one of my all-time favourites – and the addition of the crab and roasted peppers sounds like a wonderful way to really bump up a classic. This is one I will definitely be trying.
    Sue 🙂

    08 . Jun . 2011
  49. kitchen flavours

    Hi, I’m stopping over from Mom’s Sunday Cafe. Your Mac n Cheese looks so good! My kids could eat Mac n Cheese all day! Your addition of crab and roasted red pepper brings to a whole new level altogether! Sounds really fantastic. You have a lovely site. Am following you. Have a nice day!

    08 . Jun . 2011
  50. Roxanne

    love mac and cheese and this looks amazing

    11 . Jun . 2011
  51. Archery Bows

    Hi there, merely grew to be aware of your website via Google, observed it is truly helpful. I’m about to watch out for the city. We will be gracious when you go on that in the future. Plenty of people should be benefited through your crafting. Many thanks!

    06 . May . 2013

Leave A Comment