Grandmas Mac and Cheese Crab Rolls, my cheesy, macaroni, lump crab meat, rolled in phyllo dough creation on Food Network’s Clash of the Grandmas!
Proudly Created Recipe For Food Network
Who creates a recipe, right there in front of national television?
I do, and I did and since it had never been created before, by anyone, it is now a national hit!
Tightly rolled and loaded with Gruyere Cheese, tiny shell macaroni, Maryland Blue Crab meat, Old Bay seasoning, all wrapped in a buttery phyllo dough and baked to perfection!
Food Network’s Clash Of The Grandmas
First of all, allow me to tell you why this recipe is a Big Deal!
It was my first time on a television cooking competition; Food Network’s Clash of the Grandmas!
My third grandchild had just been born, having had literally one day to see him at the hospital before being whisked off to Universal Studios.
Us four grandma’s, had no idea what the challenges would be, until we were on set and they would be given to us.
Let’s start with Round One!
Make A Hand Held Mac and Cheese Dish That Can Be Eaten On The Go
Are these people nuts! A gooey melted cheese dish with slippery macaroni… On The Go?
It’s funny how the brain works in situations like this.
You simply rely on everything you’ve ever cooked, and somehow create something new!
In an instant, I knew it couldn’t be an elbow macaroni, it’s too big.
I knew it couldn’t be a proper al dente pasta, because I needed the cooked pasta to be soft enough to stick to the cheese.
And just like that, the light bulb came on and I knew I would make something rolled inside of phyllo dough.
Mac and Cheese – The Ultimate Comfort Food
Okay, so if this comfort food is to be edible ‘on the go’, it needed to at least, have flavors that reflected my style of cooking, in case it was a flop.
Absolutely, it had to have Crab in it, because I am from Maryland and fresh crab is what we eat all summer long.
Either freshly picked from the shell or the best crab cakes around.
But wait, I’m in California, can I get jumbo lump crab meat here?
I decide to use the Dungeness crab meat that is local, and wow is it jumbo, sweet and delicious!
The next dilemma would be to decide what type of cheese and pasta to use.
Cheese And Crab?
I’ve always heard the judges on these cooking shows say that seafood and cheese doesn’t go together.
What’s wrong with them, I wondered.
Don’t you professional judges know what shrimp and grits is made with? Grits are made with lots of cheese, like lots!
Since there are so many different types of cheeses, I knew I didn’t want a typical cheese often used in comfort cheese casserole type dishes.
For sure it was not going to be parmesan cheese, Monterey jack, or sharp cheddar cheese, for all the obvious reasons; too strong, too weak, too ordinary.
I’ve got it! I will use the gentle yet refined gruyere cheese, a dusting of old bay seasoning (originated in Maryland), and phyllo dough to hold it all together.
Crab Rolls With Phyllo Dough
Coming from a Mediterranean influenced heritage, we wrap a lot of things in phyllo dough:
- Baklava, with nuts and honey is wrapped in phyllo dough
- Tarts are made, using phyllo dough as the crust
- I’ve even created a Mac and Cheese Turkey Roll, since the show, for Thanksgiving leftover turkey
So it was the perfect way to hold all this mac and cheese together by baking it to crunchy perfection!
3-Easy Steps To Make Crab Mac and Cheese Rolls
When I tell you this recipe is easy, remember I had to make this dish in under 60-minutes, start to finish, and the judges loved it!
First step will be to make the filling, which is making a creamy cheese sauce, adding the cooked pasta and gently folding in the crab meat.
Second step is to brush melted butter onto phyllo sheets and stack five layers, fill with the crab filling and roll into a tight log to finish in the oven.
Last is to bake the crab roll until the phyllo dough is crisp and golden brown.
What To Serve With Mac and Cheese Crab Rolls
Obviously, since I first made this recipe for television, no other special dish was required to serve with the theme dish.
I did, serve it alongside a small green salad, just for a splash of color.
However, I have since made this recipe often, serving as appetizers before Christmas dinners, as well as a main dish on a holiday season that falls in the summertime.
- Old Bay seasoning
- Cayenne pepper
- Gruyere cheese and Mozzarella
- Small shell pasta
- Crab meat
- Phyllo pastry
- Large Frying pan with a lid
- Medium pot with a lid for cooking pasta
- Wooden Spoon
- Cheese grater
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet
- Basting brush
Grandmas Mac and Cheese Crab Rolls
- Pasta pot
- Baking sheet pan
- Large skillet
- 6 tbsp Unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp Flour
- 1 Garlic clove crushed
- 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning or other seafood seasoning
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper or black pepper
- 1 cup Heavy cream
- 3/4 cup Gruyere cheese grated
- 1/2 cup Mozzarella shredded
- 3/4 cup Small shell pasta cooked
- 1 lb Lump crab meat
- 10 sheets Phyllo dough
- In a large skillet, over low heat make a roux from 2 tablespoons of melted butter and the flour, whisking until it forms a paste.
- Quickly stir in the crushed garlic, seasonings and cream. Whisk well until the mixture starts to thicken.
- Fold in the cheeses and turn the heat off.
- Add the pasta and gently fold the pasta mixture until it is well coated with the cheesy mixture.
- Gently fold in the crab, so as not to break apart the beautiful lumps of meat. Cool slightly while preparing the phyllo.
- Preheat the oven to 400. Melt butter.
- Lay out one sheet of phyllo and baste with melted butter. Layer another phyllo sheet on top and continue to brush melted butter on each layer until you have 5 layers of phyllo dough brushed with melted butter.
- Place half of the crab macaroni cheese mixture along the long side of the stack of phyllo. Roll and baste with butter until all the edges are sealed.
- Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. At a diagonal, slice just halfway through the roll, and make 8 slices.
- Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets and crab mixture.
- Bake for 8 minutes, then lower the oven to 350 for another 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Remove and finish the cut all the way through while still hot.