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Dungeness Crabby Mac

Dungeness Crabby Mac

Paula Nemzek for KCTS 9 Cooks

In this decadent mac and cheese recipe, we use Dungeness crab and Walla Walla sweet onion. Good enough for company, this would be equally good using chopped ham in place of the crab. We make ours gluten-free, with ingredients recommended by America’s Test Kitchen.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1/2 pound Dungeness crabmeat, picked clean of shell
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced Walla Walla sweet onion, or use shallots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped brown mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (We use King Arthur GF baking mix.)
  • 21/4 cups milk, at room temperature (Nonfat works well.)
  • 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay, or use your favorite all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 8-ounce block cream cheese, cut into eighths, at room temperature
  • 1/2 12-ounce package cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian (flat leaf) parsley
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or marsala wine (optional)
  • 1 12-ounce box macaroni or other shaped pasta (We use Jovial GF fusilli.)


  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs (We use Aleia’s GF panko.)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian (flat leaf) parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 x 11-inch casserole dish. (A 9 x 13-inch pan will also work.)

For the cheese sauce, heat butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add flour to make a roux, and cook for 2 3o 3 minutes to incorporate the flour. Lower the heat if necessary to keep the roux on the blonde side. Add milk slowly, about a quarter cup at a time, stirring to incorporate. Add seafood seasoning and the chunks of cream cheese. Cook over medium-low heat until cream cheese melts, then add crumbled cotija, cheddar and parsley. Cook over low until all cheese is melted. Turn off heat and add sherry, if desired.

While the cheese sauce cooks, prepare pasta according to package directions, just to al dente. Drain and add to cheese mixture. Gently fold in crabmeat, reserving several lumps to garnish each serving. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish.

For the topping, in a glass measuring cup, melt butter in the microwave. Add panko and parsley to the cup and stir to blend. Sprinkle mixture over the top of the casserole, spreading evenly, and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until topping is crispy and browned. Divide into serving portions, and top each serving with a piece of crabmeat. Serve with a crisp green salad, sprinkled with some of the remaining cotija cheese to tie the meal together, and prepare for rave reviews!