I made this recipe found on http://steamykitchen.com/blog with some modifications. it was satisfying and a great, surprising meld of flavors.
1/2 cup butter + more for ramekin
1/2 cup flour
2 cups half and half
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne
pinch of ground black pepper
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups gruyere cheese, shredded
1 lb dried elbow pasta
1/3 cup regular breadcrumbs
1 lb thawed frozen white crab meat chunks
3 tbs grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 350F.
1. Boil pasta in a large pot of salted water until 1 minute shy of done. Drain well.
2. In meantime, with medium saucepan on medium-low heat, melt butter and add flour a little at a time, whisking constantly for 3 minutes to make a roux. Add half and half, a little at time, whisking to combine. Cook 3 minutes until sauce has thickened. Turn off heat. Add cheddar and gruyere, salt, nutmeg, cayenne and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add cooked pasta to pan, stir to combine.
3. Butter oven safe ceramic dish. Spoon pasta/cheese mixture into dish, up to 2/3 full. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
4. While pasta is baking, melt 2 tbs butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add crab meat, bread crumbs, and parmesan. cook for 3 min. and turn off heat.
5. When pasta is done baking, remove from oven. Top pasta with crab mixture. Set your oven rack to top 1/3 of oven, turn to broil and return dish to oven 8 min.
delicious cheesiness. comfort food, with a slight kick!