New England Mac and Cheese Recipe


This recipe makes A LOT of mac and cheese, so please make the proper adjustments if you want a smaller batch.

2 packages Kraft Mac n Cheese
2 pks (1lb/450g) Gardein mini crabless cakes or Authentic crab cakes, cook by instructions and break into chunks *optional*
1 tablespoon/21.25g Old Bay Seasoning
4 tablespoons of butter (1/2 stick)
1 large shallot (or 2 small) minced
4 tablespoons/85g all-purpose flour
3 cup/0.7L milk
8 oz/226g cream cheese
3 cups/384g grated high quality strong cheese (cheddar, parmesan, asiago, etc)
2 tablespoons/42.5g freshly chopped parsley leaves
2 tablespoons/30mL sherry, *optional*
Serve with Old Bay hot sauce or Tabasco sauce, to taste

Topping

1/2 cup/64g Ritz cracker crumbs (make by pulsing in food processor)
1/2 cup/64g Cheez-It cracker crumbs (make by pulsing in food processor)
2 teaspoons/8g Old Bay Seasoning
4 tablespoons melted butter (1/2 stick)
1 tablespoon/21.25g freshly chopped parsley leaves

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F or 176 degrees C.

For the sauce 

Melt the butter in a saucepan.

I used a big saucepan or a pot you would use when making soup for a lot of people. You end up adding a lot of additional ingredients so you want to have the space.

Add minced shallots and saute for 1 to 2 minutes.

You don't want them fully cooked at this point because they will continue cooking so you don't want them to burn 

Add the flour to make a roux, cooking for 2-3 min to lightly brown the flour.
Slowly (its hard, but actually do this slowly), add milk and stir to incorporate until silky, then add the Old Bay seasoning, and the cream cheese.
Stir in and cook the cream cheese until it is melted.

its going to take a few minutes, and you may be questioning your skills at this point, but trust the process!

Add grated cheeses, and parsley. Stir in until all the cheese is melted and incorporated. If you have a slightly pink/brown cheese sauce its perfect - the Old Bay changes the color slightly.

Add the sherry, if desired.

For the pasta
 Cook macaroni according to package directions or until just al dente.
Drain macaroni.
Stir cheese sauce into cooked macaroni (or vice versa) and fold in protein, if applicable.
(Be sure to fold in gently so you don't break up the protein too much) 
Put mixture in a baking dish.
(I used a 9x9in/23x23cm dish and it worked perfect)

For the topping
Mix melted butter, our "bread crumbs", Old Bay seasoning, and parsley.
Sprinkle topping on the dish.
Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes to make the topping crispy. Garnish with fresh parsley.
Serve with Tabasco to taste.

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