Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese

Lunch and Dinner Entrees

Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese

While our crab mac and cheese is the ultimate in decadence, it also speaks to the kid in all of us. This recipe is so good it goes fast once it’s on the table, so you should consider making a double batch. When crab is out of season, you can serve the mac and cheese plain or you can mix in a drizzle of truffle oil or some crumbled cooked bacon. — From Table With a View: The History & Recipes of Nick’s Cove


Servings: Makes 6 to 8 Servings

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, sliced
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded aged Gruyère cheese, such as Gran Cru
  • 2 cups shredded Point Reyes Toma or medium white Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco), for seasoning
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 lb dried fusilli pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 lb fresh-cooked Dungeness crabmeat, picked over for shell fragments
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves


In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the flour, whisk until smooth, then cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture bubbles and starts to smell of shortbread, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk, continuing to stir until the mixture is smooth and comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream. Continue to simmer, stirring, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add the Gruyère, Toma, and Parmesan, a handful at a time, stirring after each addition until melted before adding more. Season to taste with salt, hot sauce, and lemon juice.

About 15 minutes before the cheese sauce is ready, begin cooking the pasta and toast the bread crumbs. Fill a large pot two-thirds full with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes or according to package directions. Drain into a colander, shake the colander to force out any excess moisture, and transfer to a large bowl. Keep warm.

In a dry small skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and stir to mix. Add the crabmeat and stir gently to distribute evenly. Divide the pasta among individual bowls or plates. Top each serving with the toasted bread crumbs and parsley, dividing evenly. Serve at once.