Give your macaroni cheese a new spin and a touch of luxury with this crab pasta bake.
Whether you’re looking for a comfort food recipe or a quick and easy supper, pasta bake is a great choice. Sometimes it doesn’t feel quite classy enough so we’ve made it truly luxurious by using crab meat. Once you’ve bought your crab, if you have any left over, try one of our other crab recipes.
We’ve used brown crab meat – this comes from the body of the crab and is the most flavoursome bit. It will hold up to the strong cheese flavour of the sauce. Brown meat is also cheaper where as the white meat is more delicate in flavour and slightly more expensive.
If you’re looking for child friendly ways to incorporate fish in to their diet, a pasta bake is a great way – crab can be quite an intense flavour so tinned tuna works well too or try one of our child friendly fish recipes.
- 600g pasta, such as macaroni or penne
- 500ml milk
- 50g butter, plus extra for greasing
- 50g flour
- 150g grated mature Cheddar
- 1tbsp cheese spread (we used Seriously Spreadable)
- 1tsp Dijon mustard
- 1tsp tomato puree
- 1tsp smoked paprika
- 100g fresh, brown crabmeat
- 75g breadcrumbs
- Small handful of chopped parsley
- You will need:
- Large ovenproof dish
Heat oven to 200C/Gas 6. Cook the pasta according to the pack instructions
While the pasta is cooking, heat the milk in the microwave. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour and heat for 1 min – a thick paste should have formed. Stir in the hot milk a little at a time, stirring constantly (if it starts to go lumpy you can use a whisk). Continue until all the milk has been used. Bring to a simmer and stir while on the heat for 1 min.
Remove from the heat, add 100g Cheddar, the spreadable cheese, mustard, tomato puree and smoked paprika, and stir until smooth.
Drain the pasta, place back in the saucepan, then mix in the cheese sauce and fold in the crabmeat. Pour the mixture into the ovenproof dish.
Mix the remaining Cheddar, breadcrumbs and parsley, and sprinkle on top of the macaroni cheese. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until the breadcrumb mixture is golden. Remove from the oven and serve.
Top tip for making Crab Pasta Bake
If you can’t find brown crabmeat on its own, some supermarkets do a mix of white and brown meat, which will also work fine.