Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese

If you are looking for a gourmet macaroni and cheese to make at home then have I got the recipe for you.  I have combined two of my favorite creamy cheeses with mushrooms, shrimp, and crunchy panko breadcrumbs to create a decadent macaroni and cheese that could easily be served in a restaurant!
1 box shells (or your favorite pasta shape)
8-oz sliced shitake mushrooms
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 tbsp butter or margarine
8-oz colby jack cheese
8-oz havarti cheese
1-lb bag frozen cooked shrimp, thawed and cut into bite size pieces
2 tbsp freshly chopped sage
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, separated
2/3 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
3-oz grated grana padano or parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 385.

Boil the pasta over medium heat until al dente and drain.  Make sure to shake off all of the water if you are using shells.

While the pasta is cooking sautee the mushrooms, shallot, and butter over medium heat until the mushrooms are limp and the shallot is translucent.

Shred the colby jack and havarti cheeses into a large bowl.  Add the shrimp, sage, mustard, salt, and 1 tsp of the pepper.  Stir to mix well.  Add the drained pasta, along with the mushroom mixture and stir again until mixed well.  Put into a 9x13 baking dish.

Combine the breadcrubs, grated grana padano, and 1/2 tsp black pepper in a small bowl and spread over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the top begins to turn a nice golden brown.

If you're not a fan of shrimp you can leave it out, or substitute crab or even lobster.  As always, let me know if you try this out - I'd love to hear your comments!



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