A few inspired touches are all that’s needed to give an iconic comfort food a dinner-party makeover. Al dente pasta is generously coated in a classic cheddar sauce and gently combined with tender crabmeat, then topped with crunchy panko crumbs.


  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups mild yellow Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup extra sharp white Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. mustard powder
  • 1 ¼ cups (8 oz.) crabmeat with 1/3 cup extra crabmeat for top of casserole


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lightly butter casserole dish.
  3. In a medium skillet heat butter and oil.
  4. Add panko and cook, stirring until lightly browned.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
  6. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well.
  7. In a medium saucepan melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook and stir for several minutes until bubbling.
  8. Whisk in milk and cream and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth.
  9. Remove from heat and add the cheeses, salt and mustard.
  10. Gently stir in 1 ¼ cups crabmeat. Spoon into prepared casserole.
  11. Place extra crabmeat on top and sprinkle lightly with crumb topping. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until sauce is bubbly and top is golden brown.

    Makes: 6 servings.

Did you know?

Although you can use canned crabmeat, we recommend using crab leg clusters. In addition to getting big chunks of crab, the meat also tastes sweeter and fresher.