Savage Crab Orzo ‘N Cheese
March 2, 2008
Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? Ok, now what if you added lobster to the mac and cheese – oh that would be delicious. Wait, what if instead of Velveeta we used Mascarpone? So awesome. White mac and cheese with lobster. Sounds great, but let’s substitute fresh king crab for the lobster because it’s a little more hearty and a third the price. Cool, I’m with you. Oh, and let’s also use a tricolor orzo instead of macaroni. Wait, what? Yeah, orzo, you know the little pasta nibblets? But why? Stop asking questions and take a bite.
Total kitchen time: 1 hr (less if you start with lump crab meat)
Makes: 6 people less crabby, paradoxically
- 2 lbs. king crab pieces (claws and legs) OR 1.5 lbs. picked lump crab meat
- 2 cups orzo
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 cups Mascarpone cheese
- 3 tbsp. crème fraîche
- 1/4 tsp. white pepper
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- sea salt, to taste
- 3 tbsp. chives, finely chopped
- If you’re starting with crab pieces in the shell, the first (and messiest step) is to remove the meat. I recommend using a pair of kitchen shears to cut through the shell. Exercise caution, as crabs are sharp and you’ll likely get frustrated at the little crustaceans’ unwillingness to cooperate. Break the crab meat up into about 1 inch pieces. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Note: unless you are pulling the crabs out of the water yourself, they will
almost certainly be pre-cooked. This is because uncooked crab meat has a very short shelf life. If you are, in fact, starting with raw meat, steam the crabs whole, then pick the meat out yourself. If, for some bizarre reason, you have a live King crab, you will first need to kill it using any method featured in Starship Troopers.
- Cook the orzo until tender in a large pot of boiling water. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.
- Meanwhile, combine the mascarpone, crème fraîche, white pepper, lemon juice and sea salt in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally until the cheese has melted into a smooth white sauce.
- Melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet until foamy. Add the crab and toss to coat in the butter. You really just want to heat up the crab here, so be brief.
- Plate the orzo, then top with a tablespoon or so of the mascarpone sauce. Top with a bit of crab meat and garnish with chives.
You have tamed the savage ocean crab. Now, relish in the delight of victory with another spoonful of cheesy pasta! May I recommend celebrating with a bottle of Vigonier?