Crab and cheese gnocchi a delightfully filling dish

By Jim Bailey

We all love macaroni and cheese and there are many ways of preparing it so that it is more filling.Yankee Chef logo Try substituting gnocchi for the macaroni. It’s a great alternative to traditional pasta and just a tad more filling. Combining the ocean’s harvest elevates this dish to a beautifully, robust standing.

Crab and Gnocchi Gratin

This Yanked “mac and cheese” casserole makes a great dinner party dish or simply a comforting casserole on a cold night. It’s a combination of a classic gnocchi gratin and crab macaroni and cheese, but with a bit of luxury.

1 pound packaged or homemade gnocchi
3/4 pound cooked crab meat, drained
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoons minced garlic in oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cups light cream or half-and-half
6 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups dried, unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon crushed basil leaves

Crab gnocchi and cheese as a tasty and filling alternative to mac and cheese.

Crab gnocchi and cheese as a tasty and filling alternative to mac and cheese.

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Boil gnocchi according to package instructions and drain. Place gnocchi in a 9×9- inch square baking or casserole dish. Mix in the crab meat evenly.
Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook 1 minute.

Add the flour, whisking well. Add the cream and whisk until smooth. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cream is thickened and hot, whisking constantly. Add the cheeses and continue whisking and cooking until cheese has melted, just another couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste with pepper.

I don’t believe you will need salt but add some if desired. Pour the cheese sauce over the crab and gnocchi mixture, stirring gently to evenly distribute the sauce.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and toss with the bread crumbs and basil. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the edges are bubbly and the top is golden.

Makes 5 to 6 servings

Yankee Chef book coverIn the first week of February, Schiffer Books of Pennsylvania is releasing Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen.  It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

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  1. Sarah says:

    I love gnocchi but get a little bored of serving it with a blue cheese sauce (even though it is tasty). Your recipe with crab meat sounds gorgeous, I will be printing it up to give it a go. Thanks!