This fantastic tasting version of Mac and Cheese is far beyond anything I ever tasted before. Our great friend Sue Gale prepared that dish for Janet and me and I just couldn’t stop eating. I awaited her recipe, but in the meantime I found a recipe on the Internet that I modified to make it come out creamy, much like Sue Gale's dish.
Okay, Sue provided her recipe so I merged what I believe to be the best of both into one recipe. Tonight I had my version as Crab Mac and Cheese and it is fabulous! This one you don't want to miss.
Ingredients: (Serves four to six people)
1 tsp. of salt for the pot of water
1 tsp. of vegetable oil
12 ounces of uncooked macaroni or shell pasta
20 ounces of light cream
4 tbsp. of butter for making a roux
1/3 cup of all purpose flour
8 ounces of gruyere cheese, grated
8 ounces of extra sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
8 ounces of mascarpone cheese
4 ounces of pecorino romano cheese, grated (Locatelli)
1/2 teaspoon (or more) of freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. of butter for the panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon of salt for the cream sauce
1 pound of lobster meat, cooked and cut or shredded into pieces each about 2 tsp. in volume, or, 1 lb. of cooked lump crab meat
1 cup of panko bread crumbs
Turn on the oven to 325ºF.
Put the oil into a 1 1/2 gallon pot and add one gallon of water and one tsp. salt. Bring the water to a rapid boil and add the macaroni and cook it on low to medium heat according to the directions on the package, about 9 minutes to get it to an al dente state. Drain the macaroni well in a colander. Set the macaroni aside.
Grate the gruyere, cheddar and romano cheeses while the macaroni is cooking, putting each into a very large bowl. Cut or spoon the soft mascarpone cheese into the grated cheeses and mix gently.
Heat the cream in a small (1 1/2 qt.) saucepan on low to medium heat, but don't let it boil.
In the empty large pot used to make the macaroni, melt 4 tablespoons of butter and then add the flour to make the roux. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring the mixture rapidly with a whisk.
Add the hot cream gradually while whisking and cook for a minute or two more, until the sauce is thickened and smooth.
Remove the sauce from the heat and add the salt and pepper, and then the cheeses in small amounts, mixing well with a large wooden spoon.
Add the lobster or crab pieces and stir gently.
Add the macaroni and stir gently but thoroughly.
Place the mixture into 4 to 6 individual au gratin dishes or two to three small ovenproof casseroles.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the saucepan used for the cream. Mix the panko bread crumbs with the melted butter and sprinkle the mixture evenly on top of the macaroni and cheese in the au gratin dishes/casseroles.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the bread crumbs lightly browned on the top. You may need to use the broiler for an additional two minutes to brown the bread crumbs.