Fra Diavolo Mac & Cheese with Snow Crab

by Jenn on October 18, 2009

in Dips and Sauces,Gluten Free,Seafood

Gluten Free Mac & Cheese
This week was my husband’s and my first wedding anniversary!  I can’t believe that a year has passed by already, it has been SO fast!  So many great and crazy things have happened in our lives in the past year, it has certainly been quite the trip, and I can’t wait to see what awesome adventures lie ahead for us.

To celebrate our first anniversary, we originally thought that we would go out to a nice dinner, relax for the day, and just take it easy.  Well, that morning when we got up I asked my wonderful husband what he wanted to eat, so we could decide where we wanted to go.  So he says to me, “You know what I want?  Mac & cheese.”  Yes, for our first anniversary my husband wanted mac & cheese.

Now you must know, that being gluten free means that mac & cheese is kinda a big deal – you have to make it from scratch.  And seriously, what nice restaurant could we go to where we could eat gourmet gluten free mac & cheese?  So it was decided, we were eating in this night and we sat in a cafe and decided how to make our mac & cheese fitting for a first anniversary dinner, whilst sipping some delicious lattes.  One of my favorite foodies, Bridget, suggested to me to make lobster mac & cheese, and then the idea struck – something italian, with a tomato white wine cream sauce, jumping with flavor – ah yes, a fra diavolo is exactly the type of thing I am looking for!  I had a delicious eggplant fra diavolo as an appetizer at one of our favorite Italian restaurants once, and remembered the awesome unique infusion of tarragon that found its way to the tastebuds, and wanted to make sure I incorporated that as well.  The cheeses were fontina, gruyere and asiago, and well, we bought snow crab legs instead of a lobster because they were only $4/lb and well, we are poor.

So yes, the two of us worked together to put together this great meal for ourselves and enjoy it – it was the perfect way to spend the afternoon of our anniversary together, creating a tasty masterpiece and eating a delicious dinner fit for any restaurant meal, but not something we’d ever be able to get gluten free in any restaurant.  Dinner was served with a wine from a great local winery, and then stay tuned for the maple pumpkin crème brûlée I made for dessert in my next post!

Also linked to – Friday Foodie Fix


1.5 lbs. snow crab leg clusters
4 tbs. butter
2 tbs. GF or regular flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage
3 tbs. finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbs. finely chopped fresh basil
red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 c. diced shitake mushrooms
1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
1/4 c. tomato paste
cracked pepper to taste
1/2 c. seafood stock
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. grated fontina cheese
1 c. grated gruyere cheese
1 c. grated asiago cheese
8 oz. quinoa elbow pasta
1/4 c. bread crumbs (I made some from GF tapioca bread)
1/4 c. grated asiago cheese
chopped parsley (for garnish)

1.  Steam the crab legs in a large covered pot of an inch or so of boiling water.  Strain, and crack open the legs to remove the crab meat.  Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over med-high heat.  Whisk in the flour to make a roux.  While stirring, add in garlic and shallots and wine.  Stir often until fragrant, about 3 minutes or so.
3. Stir in the herbs, red pepper flakes, then mushrooms, then sun-dried tomatoes, and then tomato paste and black pepper.  Keep stirring until it all comes together, and then stir in the stock.  Let it simmer, stirring often, for about 5 more minutes.  Start the pasta cooking, and drain it when it’s ready.
4. Turn the heat down to med-low, and stir in the heavy cream.  Stirring constantly in a uniform figure-8 motion (like you would do when making fondue), gradually add in the cheeses.  Keep stirring until all the cheese is melted in and the cheese sauce is of uniform consistency.
5. In a large mixing bowl, add the pasta and crab meat, and then stir in the sauce.  Once all together, serve into oven safe bowls, and top with bread crumbs and cheese.  Broil until mac browns, and then remove from the oven.  Top with parsley garnish, and serve.  Be careful to use hot pads or trivets as the bowls will be hot.