Macaroni cheese is my ultimate boat comfort food – add crab and it becomes something special.
A fresh, dressed crab is the best thing to use here, as it cranks up the flavor intensity, but you can use a tub of pasteurized white crab meat, or failing that two 170g tins of white crab meat. Serve with a crisp, green salad.
- 50g butter
- 2 leeks, trimmed, washed and finely sliced
- macaroni, or other short pasta
- 50g flour
- 600ml milk
- 150g mature Cheddar, grated
- ¼ tsp nutmeg, grated
- 1 dressed crab
- 2 handfuls of breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper
Method Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the leeks, then cover and sweat for 10 minutes to soften. Meanwhile bring salted water to the boil in a large saucepan and cook the pasta, then drain and keep warm. Heat the grill. Add the flour to the leeks, stir to combine and cook for a couple of minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking to avoid lumps, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add half the cheese and all of the nutmeg and crab, then heat through and season before stirring in the cooked pasta. Tip the lot into a shallow baking dish if you are using a boat grill (if you are cooking at home with a larger grill, any heatproof dish will work). Top with the breadcrumbs and the remaining cheese. Grill for a couple of minutes until the topping is crunchy and golden.