Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe
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This fancy-fied mac and cheese casserole makes a lovely dinner party dish or Thanksgiving side dish. It’s an amalgamation of a classic gnocchi gratin and crab mac and cheese recipe, offering a bit of cozy luxury.
Several months ago I had the opportunity to visit San Francisco.
I adored walking the hills, observing the intricate architecture, breathing in the ocean air, and visiting quirky shops and galleries.
Other than the ocean air, it reminded me of a larger Asheville and I felt right at home.
Of all the wonderful things I saw and experienced in San Francisco, the thing that stuck out to me the most was the incredible food culture.
Everywhere I looked wonderful things were being grown, caught, baked, churned, crafted, and cured. I couldn’t possibly begin to tell you all the delightful things I tasted.
Just know, there was a lot of cheese, chocolate, sourdough bread, and an episode with salami in a cone.
I can, however, fully describe the dish that was the most memorable, a Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe.
At a little waterfront restaurant, we ate the most decadent mac and cheese casserole with large succulent chunks of crab meat nestled within.
As I looked out at the bay, I savored every bite and took mental notes so I could come home and recreate such a dish.
This fall, I experimented with various Crab Mac and Cheese casseroles and finally determined I would like this luxurious dish even more, if I switched the standard macaroni noodles to gnocchi.
Creamy gnocchi gratin is another favorite splurge, so it only made sense to combine the two.
This Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe made with tender pillows of gnocchi, sweet crab meat, gruyere, and havarti cheese, has the essence of both a well-made gnocchi gratin and a baked mac and cheese casserole.
That means it delivers both the sense of intense luxury and down-home comfort. What could be better than that?
To top it all, it has a touch of warm spicy nutmeg that pairs so well with both the seafood and cheeses.
This Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe would make a show-stopping addition to your Thanksgiving table, as well as a opulent main course for an intimate holiday dinner party.
If planning the latter, I suggest serving it with a warm spinach and pear salad and a glass of something bubbly!
Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 2 pounds packaged gnocchi
- 1 pound cooked crab meat
- 7 tablespoons butter divided
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 3 cups half & half
- 8 ounces shredded gruyere cheese
- 8 ounces shredded havarti cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil, and cooked the gnocchi according to the package instructions.
- Drain the gnocchi and place in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add the crab meat and mix.
- In a large sauce pot (could be the same used for pasta) melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour followed by the garlic and lemon zest. Cook for another minute, then add the half and half and whisk until smooth.
- Once the mixture is warm, add the cheeses. Stir to blend, then add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Once smooth, taste for salt (add more if needed) and pour the cheese mixture over the crab and gnocchi. Mix and smooth in the baking dish.
- Then melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and toss with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs, and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the edges are bubbly and the top is golden.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve warm.
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!
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I loved it!! Just the taste and consistency I was craving!! Definitely will be making this again and again!!
I’ve made this recipe twice now, in the past week, testing it for a Christmas party (last night). It was a big hit. I increased the recipe by 50% to accommodate my crowd. I then made one part as written (with the white sauce), but then I made the other part with cheddar and a little Old Bay seasoning, as we are from Baltimore and people love that flavor. I served both at the party and everyone raved about it. Thank goodness we have leftovers, so I get to eat it again tonight! (P.S. I should also say that because it is very rich, it is also very filling, and so it makes for good party food. No one leaves hungry.)
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I made this recipe just as directed and it turned out fantastic! My family couldn’t get enough of it. I will definitely will be adding this to my recipe list! Thanks for sharing!
Apparently Havarti is nearly impossible to find in Ireland (weird, it’s so common in the US and Canada), so I substituted smoked Gouda. As delicious as this looks, it still managed to exceed my expectations! It’s so incredibly rich and decadent.
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This recipe looks so delicious…wonderfully rich in flavor! Love this!
I felt like the recipe used waaaaay too much breadcrumbs. I won’t skip them, but I will seriously reduce the amount used next time.
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Hubby is allergic to shellfish (shame, I know), but he loves it. Could I substitute fake crab (the pollock stuff) without totally ruining this recipe?
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This was a great idea! I made my own gnocchi, and tossed a bit of chopped parsley, a bit of lemon zest, and a drizzle of olive oil into the panko. This was delicious!
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Your crab mac and cheese looks mouthwatering. I’m sure that my husband would go crazy over these when I try making this next week.
I have featured this recipe on my blog for my weekly seafood round-up and have linked this recipe to your original post so that my readers will be forwarded to your site. Thank you for allowing me to share! Here is the link: http://carriesexperimentalkitchen.blogspot.com/2012/11/seafood-frenzy-friday-week-42.html
I made and ate this last night, and had the leftovers tonight. This was so YUMMY! A couple of things I did (if you are a foodie, you might want to cover your ears here!) I used imitation crabmeat, my local grocery store did not have the real stuff, and they also didn’t have the gruyere or havarti cheese. I am not familiar with those cheeses (although I will attempt to find them and use them next time, and there will be a next time) so I just used a combination of mozzarella/parmesan/asiago because that’s what I had on hand. I almost skipped the panko breadcrumbs on top to save on calories, and that would have been a HUGE mistake. Something about the decadence of the sauce coupled with the crunch of the panko – awesome. It was better tonight as leftovers, if that’s even possible. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.
What a fabulous casserole! Really droolworthy and so comforting. Now I’m craving your gnocchi gratin.
You, my good woman, have the culinary decadence that a mere student such as myself may only dream to one day aspire to.
When I return home for Christmas I will attempt to recreate this dish in order to prove to my mother that I do not survive on supernoodles alone and can in fact fend for myself :)
Thank you – it looks delicious!
Loved walking through your photos of San Fran but I have to admit I am a HUGE fan of crab mac ‘n cheese. Can’t wait to try yours love.
You are killing me with this one. I LOOOOOOVE gnocchi!
This looks incredible. Follow you on Pintrest, thank you!
This looks positively sinful and oh-so-delicious. Sign me up!
Oh, how I love me some crab. And gnocchi. This looks like a beautiful dish.
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Really there are no words for how good this looks. Wow.
Love SF!! beautiful photos. Crab with gnocci, my daughter would love this~~
So glad you got a chance to visit SF. Isn’t it the best?! And I’m so thrilled that you recreated the crab mac and cheese. Your version is amazing, especially with all that gnocchi goodness!
What gorgeous photos Sommer – I’ve never spent much time in San Francisco, but hope to one day. As for your mac and cheese, oh my! My oldest son would love this – he loves crab!
San Fran is Ah-mazzing! And this dish looks out of this world yummy!!!
This sounds incredible!!! I don’t know if I will be able to stop eating it once I start:-)
This looks amazing! I can tell that this would be one of those dishes that I would find hard to stop eating…….yum.
I could eat my weight in this!
Sommer this looks awesome!! Totally putting it on our holiday menu, thanks!!!
sounds scrumptious and shrimp would probably be good in it too. have very fond memories of doing San Francisco w/#3 son and his wife when he was stationed in Monterey and yes, we drove down Lombard Street. Had a poster of it hanging in my office for years.
This is a great dish with all my favorites. I love San Fran!
What a gorgeous post and a truly delicious looking mac ‘n cheese. I can’t wait to give it a try. This would be perfect to share with Presto Pasta Night Roundups – http://www.prestopastanights.com The weekly event is ending next week after over five years. It would be awesome to have one of your spectacular pastas to participate..
This reminds me of one of my favorite dishes from Mastro’s (my favorite steakhouse)!! I’m so so excited to try this one of those days when I want to be completely gluttinous. Also, I got really excited when I saw your SF pictures before reading your post because I was just there this past weekend. Haha.
San Francisco, crabs, carbs, mac and cheese and OMG!!! Let me pause, take this in, and drool a little more…
This looks like heaven on a plate…crab & gnocchi in mac & cheese form…I CANNOT wait to give it a try! Also, can’t wait to make a trip to San Francisco in the near future.
Comfort food at its best.
I think I just died and went to heaven!! Holy cow, woman! This looks so comforting and delicious!
Great pictures of SF! I love that city. I also feel like that mac n’ cheese has to be at my Thanksgiving table. Gnocchi andddd crab?! delish.
Wow, what a great Mac & Cheese. But I don’t think my family would eat it because it’s not in the Blue Box. lol I love the recipe!! Going to make a small portion for me!! Great picks of SF!! I love the city! Glad I live so close to it!!
Yum, this is pure comfort food! Great pics of SF!
I love San Francisco and love how you captured it in your photos and through this delish dish!
This mac and cheese looks AMAZING
Holy amazing. Macaroni and cheese to the infinite.
Looks absolutely wonderful, Sommer!
These photos are breathtaking. And this dish – totally amazing. So hearty but unique!
YESSSSSSS. SF is a wonderful mecca of awesome food–especially the crab! I love that it’s only an hour away–makes it easy for a tasty day trip :) next time, I’m going to have to hunt down this mac and cheese. Or make your version since it’s perfect. Looks SO delicious! And I love that you used gnocci. Drooling.
Holy cow! That casserole is a thing of beauty! I would be so happy to spend about a month in SF, just exploring all of the restaurants and markets.
I love gnocchi! Even better than it involves crab and cheese!
Oh man, I am such a sucker for gnocchi and then you had to add the gruyere and your kiss of nutmeg, not to mention your trip to SF. My heart, my heart!
Oh Sommer. Just Yum.
I just adore San Francisco! We even considered moving to the Bay Area. Although I won’t be adding crab, the idea of using gnocchi in mac & cheese is genius!
looks like awesome gourmet comfort food to me!
This mac and cheese looks absolutely incredible! This is truly fancy comfort food at its best.
A beautiful post & this mac ‘n cheese looks amazing!
How decadent! I am keeping this in mind for this weeks menu!
That looks like an amazing casserole! I love gnocchi so much.
I just adore that city… love how you captured it! And, yeah, crab mac and cheese will definitely hit the spot!
Definitely a grown-up mac and cheese – fantastic! Love SF – those are beautiful photos.