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Crab Macaroni & Cheese Featuring Cabernet Sauvignon Salt

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This recipe was developed by the Food Network's Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and features the Cabernet Sauvignon Salt from our Limited Edition Chardonnay & Cabernet Sauvignon Salt Set. You can find more recipes featuring these salts at www.woodbridgewines.com.

A few notes from Chef Guarnaschelli about the recipe:

Any type of crab will work for this recipe: fresh, frozen or canned. If the crab is frozen, simply defrost in the refrigerator and drain of all excess liquid before adding to the macaroni. If canned, thoroughly drain crab of liquid before using. Also, taste the crab before adding to the macaroni. You may find it needs salt and pepper before mixing in. You can also make this dish vegetarian by simply omitting the crab!

One of the exciting things about this recipe is how the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay in the cheese sauce base and the Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Salt add a tangy, acidic note that brightens the cheese. The flavors they create resemble a great fondue sauce. The wine also illuminates the crabmeat and makes this dish hard to resist!

INGREDIENTS

1 pound elbow macaroni
Cabernet Sauvignon Salt to taste

Sauce Ingredients:
2 cups Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay
3 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 cups grated Swiss cheese
½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Tabasco
1 pound lump crabmeat, shell bits removed

Topping Ingredients:
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
½ cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup grated Swiss cheese
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a medium pot, reduce the Chardonnay over medium heat until the liquid measures about ½ cup, about 10-12 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.

In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water and 2 tablespoons of the wine salt to a rolling boil. It should taste like seawater. Stir in the macaroni and cook but leave quite firm, 6-8 minutes. Drain the pasta but keep some of the cooking liquid, about ½ cup.

In the same medium pot used to reduced the wine, add cream and mustard and bring to a simmer gently over medium-low heat with a pinch of wine salt. Slowly stir in the 3 cups of Swiss cheese, all of the cheddar and ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese until melted, about 2-3 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco and stir until incorporated. Add 1/4 cup reserved pasta liquid to the reduced wine and mix. Add the wine liquid mix to the sauce and warm for another 3-5 minutes. Add more pasta water to achieve desired consistency, if necessary. 

To assemble the dish, add the macaroni to the cream and stir gently to blend. Allow the macaroni to "rest" on the stove, 5-10 minutes, so the pasta absorbs the flavors. Transfer half of the macaroni to a 9" x 13" ovenproof baking dish and sprinkle with an even layer of about half of the crab. Gently layer on the remaining macaroni and crab.

In a medium bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with remaining Swiss and Parmesan cheeses. Top the pasta with the mixture and bake in the oven 15-20 minutes or until browned and hot. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and cabernet sauvignon salt to taste. 

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