California’s Point Reyes National Seashore is a foodie’s paradise — chock full of delicious cheese shops, rustic oyster farms and terrific seafood restaurants. Fresh Dungeness crab is harvested locally from the sea, and you won’t find a more decadent preparation than at Nick’s Cove — a charming cluster of 1930s cottages on the banks of Tomales Bay. Here, executive chef Austin Perkins works his magic with the most incredible crab macaroni and cheese you’ll ever taste. This recipe calls for Point Reyes Toma and Spring Hill cheddar cheese, but you can use Gruyere in a pinch.
Nick’s Cove Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound Dungeness crab meat
- 2 pounds dried elbow macaroni pasta
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 gallon whole milk
- 1/2 gallon heavy cream
- 2 leeks white part only, sliced
- 1 cup Point Reyes Toma shredded
- 1 cup Spring Hill Cheddar shredded
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano shredded
- Fresh lemon juice 1/4 lemon
- Parsley chopped (for garnish)
- Toasted breadcrumbs for garnish
- In a large pot bring three gallons of water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and boil, stirring occasionally, 6-8 minutes. Add to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- In another large pot begin melting butter. Add the leeks and sweat 5-10 minutes, until soft. Add the flour. Stir constantly; cook until the mixtures bubbles for 2-3 minutes and smells like shortbread.
- Add the milk and bring to a boil; reduce to simmer. Allow the mixture to reduce while simmering, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the cream and again allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Add all the cheese, whisk until incorporated. Add salt to taste; add 3-5 drops of Tabasco sauce and the juice of a quarter lemon.
- Pour over pasta and add crab meat, stirring to incorporate. Serve with toasted breadcrumbs and parsley.