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Mac and Cheese with Crab and Old Bay Oyster Cracker Topping

Mac and Cheese with Crab and Old Bay Oyster Cracker Topping


  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided

  • 1 rib of celery with leafy tops, finely chopped

  • 2 larges shallots, finely chopped

  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1/4 cup dry sherry, dry vermouth or white wine

  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked through for shells

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay, divided

For the base sauce:

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

  • 1/2 cup grainy mustard

  • 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese

  • 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

  • 1 pound short-cut pasta, cooked for 6 minutes in salted water and drained

For the topping:

  • 2 cups coarse crushed oyster crackers

  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  • Finely chopped chives and parsley, to garnish


Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add celery, shallots, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and sauté to tender, 5 minutes or so. Deglaze the pan with sherry, vermouth or wine. Remove from heat.

Season crabmeat with lemon juice, Tabasco and 1 tablespoon Old Bay.

Make the base sauce for the mac: Bring cream, garlic clove and mustard to a low boil and simmer 5 minutes to thicken. Remove garlic clove and add in cheese; stir to melt.

For the topping, combine cracker crumbs, remaining tablespoon Old Bay and Parm in a bowl. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter then pour over crumbs; stir to coat.

Combine pasta, sauce, shallot mixture and crab then pour everything into a casserole dish. Top with cracker crumb mixture and bake until brown and bubbly. Garnish with chives and parsley to serve.