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Country Crab Mac and Cheese with Butter Poached Bay Shrimp

Country Crab Mac and Cheese with Butter Poached Bay Shrimp

Recipe creation for Chef's Roll Bayou to the Bay Pasta Contest Country Crab Mac and Cheese with Butter Poached Bay Shrimp brings low country bacon gravy to the mix blending fresh picked crab, some crab boil seasoning, pan toasted fresh corn off the cob and a touch of heat from Serrano peppers; this mixture becomes the roux for the mac and cheese sauce. Barilla large pasta shells are dressed with the creamy mixture and three kinds of cheeses then topped with crunchy panko crumbs and parmesan cheese. Cooked to perfection, this dish is truly Bayou to the Bay Southern Style!
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Rebecka Evans


  • 1 box Barilla large pasta shells
  • 2 ½ cups crab meat pick over to remove shells
  • 4 slices good bacon chopped into small pieces
  • 4 ½ teaspoons flour
  • 2 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 ½ teaspoons minced fresh sage divided
  • 1 stick of butter plus 3 tablespoons divided
  • 2 ears corn cut from cob
  • 2 serrano peppers fine chopped seeds and ribs removed
  • 10 gulf shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning mix
  • juice from ½ lemon
  • 2 teaspoon parsley chopped, divided
  • ½ cup white cheddar cheese shredded
  • ¼ cup yellow mild cheddar
  • ¼ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • ½ -1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon paprika


  • 1. Cook pasta as directed on the box. Drain and run cool water over pasta to stop cooking process.
  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • 2. In a thick bottomed saucepan, brown bacon on high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned.
  • 3. Remove bacon to a paper towel. Add corn that has been cut from the cob and 2 chopped serrano peppers to the hot bacon fat. Cook until corn is caramelized/toasted.
  • 4. Add 2 tablespoons butter, 4 ½ teaspoons flour, stir constantly for 4 minutes to make roux.
  • 5. Add cream, cayenne, sage, salt and pepper.
  • 6. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, add cheeses one at a time and stir after every addition to incorporate and melt the cheese. Sauce will be thick and creamy.
  • 7. Pour cooked pasta, cooked bacon and crab meat into the sauce and gently stir to combine.
  • 8. Pour mixture into baking pan or small heat proof glass containers.
  • 9. Mix panko and parmesan cheese together and sprinkle over pasta. Sprinkle paprika over and bake in the preheated over for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown.

For the Shrimp

  • While the pasta is in the oven. Heat 1 stick of salted butter in a medium pan over medium high heat, until butter is bubbly and hot, do not brown. Add peeled deveined shrimp and cook for 3 minutes on one side. Flip shrimp and add parsley, sage and a teaspoon Cajun seasoning, continue cooking 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat and set aside.


Serve cooked mac and cheese with shrimp. ENJOY