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You’ve been waiting this long, and the time is finally here—ladies and gentleman, come Saturday, it’s Dungeness crab season! Who better to kick off the crustacean celebration than chef Austin Perkins of Nick’s Cove? The picturesque Point Reyes restaurant benefits from its seaside location by sourcing fresh seafood from Tomales Bay. Perkins tosses hunks of crab into gooey mac n’ cheese for a decadent take on a homey classic—now it's yours, roadtrip not required.
Nick's Cove Dungeness Crab Mac n’ Cheese
1 pound Dungeness crab meat
2 pounds dried elbow macaroni pasta
1/2 pound unsalted butter
3/4 cup flour
1/2 gallon whole milk
1/2 gallon heavy cream
2 leeks, white part only, sliced
1 cup Point Reyes Toma, shredded
1 cup Spring Hill Cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded
Salt to taste
Fresh lemon juice (from 1/4 lemon)
Parsley, chopped (for garnish)
Toasted breadcrumbs (for garnish)
1. In a large pot, bring three gallons of water to a rolling boil.
2. Add pasta and boil, stirring occasionally, 6-8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
3. In another large pot, begin melting the butter.
4. Add the leeks and sweat 5-10 minutes, until soft.
5. Add the flour. Stir constantly; cook until the mixtures bubbles for 2-3 minutes and smells like shortbread.
6. Add the milk and bring to a boil; reduce to simmer. Allow the mixture to reduce while simmering, approximately 5 minutes.
7. Add the cream and again allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
8. Add all the cheese and whisk until incorporated.
9. Add salt to taste; add 3-5 drops of Tabasco sauce and the juice of a quarter lemon.
10. Pour over pasta and add crab meat, stirring to incorporate.
11. Serve with toasted breadcrumbs and parsley.