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Cajun Shrimp Crab Mac & Cheese




Yield: 6-8 SERVINGS 
Prep time: 20 MINUTES 
Cook time: 55 MINUTES 
Inactive time: 30 MINUTES 
Total time: 1 HOUR 45 MINUTES

This Cajun Shrimp and Crab Mac and Cheese is super creamy, cheesy and decadent. This delicious spin to the classic dish will surely be your new favourite!

You’d think the obvious answer would be fresh crab because of the better flavour, but as I mentioned above, there are a few cons. If you can afford it, I recommend buying at least 2+ pounds of fresh crab, boiling it, then remove the meat and add it to the recipe. Hopefully you’re better at this than I am, so maybe you’ll end up with chunks of crab instead of shredded meat.

However, if you can’t afford or just don’t want to spend a lot of money on fresh crab, you could use imitation crab like I did the first time. Not only does it still taste incredible, but you end up with a lot more crab which is a win in my eyes.

INGREDIENTS

CAJUN SHRIMP:

  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined (if frozen, thawed)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp cajun seasoning
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper


MAC AND CHEESE:

  • 3 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 2Ibs Fresh Crab legs, cooked OR 2 and 1/2 cups imitation crab meat, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh or dried basil + more for topping
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 - 2 and 2/3 cups evaporated milk
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Paprika, or to taste (see notes)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper, or to taste (see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups mild cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups colby & monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Cajun seasoning, for topping


INSTRUCTIONS

FOR THE CAJUN SHRIMP:

  1. Read the notes before beginning the recipe.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. In a medium bowl, add shrimp, olive oil, cajun seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper and toss to combine and coat the shrimp.
  3. Once skillet is hot, add shrimp and cook, stirring constantly until shrimp is pink, 4-6 minutes. Set aside.


FOR THE PASTA:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (177C). Lightly butter a 9x13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add macaroni and cook until al dente (look at package directions to see how long it takes). Do not overcook.
  3. Drain well and transfer cooked pasta to a large bowl. Mix in Cajun shrimp, crab chunks and basil. Set aside.


FOR THE CHEESE/MILK MIXTURE:

  1. In a large bowl, add milk and evaporated milk and whisk to combine. Add paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Taste the milk and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Once you're satisfied with the taste, add the eggs and beat until mixture is combined.
  2. Set aside 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup of colby & monterey, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Add the remaining cheese to the milk mixture and stir to combine.


ASSEMBLY OF THE MAC AND CHEESE:

  1. Pour cheese mixture into macaroni and stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with reserved cheeses. Sprinkle more basil, paprika, salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning on top (optional).
  2. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until top is golden. Cover the top with foil around the 35-40 minute mark, making sure it doesn't touch the cheese. Remove from oven and let it sit for about 25-30 minutes to set before serving.
For More Detail ==> queensleeappetit.com
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