How To Make Crab-Stuffed Shells with Lemon-Herb Cream Sauce

Serving 6


  • 20 dried jumbo shell macaroni
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks , trimmed, halved lengthwise, and sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (4 medium)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme , crushed
  • Ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh lump crabmeat, picked over, or 8 ounces peeled, deveined , and cooked shrimp, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 4 large roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh parsley


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, except reduce cooking time by 2 minutes. Rinse pasta with cold water; drain again. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons butter and the oil over medium heat. Add leeks and 1/3 cup of the shallots; cook about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in salt and thyme. Season to taste with pepper. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in crabmeat; set aside.
  3. Wipe out skillet with paper towels. For sauce, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the remaining shallots; cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic; cook about 30 seconds more. Stir in flour; cook and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in milk until smooth. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Add Parmesan cheese , if using, stirring just until combined. Stir in tomatoes, lemon juice, tarragon, and parsley. Stir 1 cup of the sauce into the crab mixture.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the crab-sauce mixture into each pasta shell. Spread 1 cup of the remaining sauce onto the bottom of a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Place filled pasta shells atop. Spoon the remaining sauce over pasta shells.
  5. Bake, covered, about 30 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.

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