This week, we went to Red Lobster (Crab Fest is on!) and each got an order of Snow Crab legs. My roommate had a hard time cracking and eating them, but I went through one set of legs and still had one left. We took them home, along with some of the great cheese biscuits Red Lobster serves. I had to find a way to use this delicious and expensive food!
There were 3 "knots" of legs that we brought home. I stored them overnight in the fridge, then removed the meat from the legs and shredded it. I thought about things I could do: Crab salad, crab Alfredo, crab cakes, etc. Finally I came up with this recipe.
|Crab Mac & Cheese with Spinach|
- 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
- 4-6 oz shredded cheddar cheese (I used mild)
- 2 T butter
- 2 T minced onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 T flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 4-8 oz shredded crab meat
- 1/3 cup frozen chopped spinach
Start a pan of salted water on high heat until it reaches boiling. You'll add the macaroni, reduce the heat to medium-high and let it cook per the package directions, usually 8-10 minutes.
While the pasta boils, sauté the onion in the butter using a sauce pan at medium-high heat. We'll be making a roux as a base for the casserole, so once the onion is translucent and just beginning to brown, reduce the heat to medium low and add the minced garlic (don't let it burn, it makes it bitter) and the flour, along with salt and pepper to taste. Use the flour to soak up the butter, then add the milk and turn the heat back up to medium high. Use a whisk as the roux begins to thicken so that you don't get lumps of flour. Once it thickens it should be about the consistency of cream gravy. Whisk in the shredded cheese, reserving a small amount for the topping.
Put the frozen spinach in a small bowl with a teaspoon of water and microwave on medium for about 2 minutes. Not enough to really cook the spinach, just enough to get it thawed and easy to work with. When the pasta is done, drain and put in a 2 qt casserole dish. Add the spinach and try to distribute it evenly through the pasta.
Add the crab meat to the cheese sauce and mix it in well. Add the cheese sauce & crab meat to the macaroni and fold it in until it looks like all the pasta has been coated with the sauce and it looks well-mixed. Top with the reserved cheese. Bake in 350° oven for 25-30 minutes. Edges of the casserole should be bubbling when you take it out.
Optional - I had some of Red Lobster's great cheese biscuits, so I crumbled them up on top of the cheese to make a crunchy topping. It was a good way to use the biscuits and adds a nice contrast to the pasta and sauce.