Sorry, been inspired by some of my favorite Christmas tunes lately : ) In all seriousness the cold weather makes me want two things: warmth and comfort. So why not encapsulate those into one dish, and one that's not soup because as much as I love soup I'm just not one of those folks who can eat soup 24/7.
Southern Seafood Mac 'n Cheese
1 cup Celery, chopped
1 cup Bell Pepper (green and red), chopped
1/4 cup Parsley
1 clove minced Garlic
1/4 cup Onion
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Tabasco
1 tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground
6 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 lb Crab Meat
1/2 lb shredded Fontina Cheese
1/2 lb shredded Swiss Cheese
1 cup Panko
3 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
1lb pasta shells
3 cups milk
1 1/2 sticks of Butter
1/2 cup Flour
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp Nutmeg, freshly ground
2 tsp White Pepper
1. Saute onion, celery and bell pepper and garlic in a tsp of olive oil in a small skillet until onion is tender, remove from skillet then set aside.
2. Heat milk over medium high in a sauce pan. While milk is heating, heat butter in a large skillet. When butter begins to bubble, add flour, whisk until well incorporated.
3. Pour milk into butter, whisk until thick.
4. Remove from heat and season with black pepper, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, tabasco and salt. Add 1.2 of cheese and set aside.
5. While mixing up sauce, cook pasta to al dente. Strain pasta and toss the seafood, parsley and sauteed veggies with the pasta.
6. Prepare a 13x9 pan by spraying/greasing it then pour pasta/seafood mixture into pan. Slowly pour the cheese sauce over the pasta so it is even then layer the top with bacon, bread crumbs and remaining cheese.
7. Bake in an oven at 350F until the top is bubbling and browned.
While many folks have pushed this summers Gulf Oil spill out of their minds those of us on the Gulf have not. As the commercials say, oil hasn't been spotted in a while but unfortunately people aren't flocking to the tourist locations and even less are buying Gulf seafood, so I will make my plea to those of you who can, go buy some, it's delicious (and safe)! As a good Gulf coast girl I have to make my plea here.
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