This is a seemingly luxurious version of a classic dish but takes mere minutes to pull together. You can finish it in the oven for a crispy baked top, or serve it straight from the pan if you’re in a hurry. The crab can be replaced with any other soft and delicately-flavoured fish, like canned mackerel, cockles or mussels, or whatever takes your fancy.
- First, measure your pasta into a pan that will easily hold thrice its volume. Add the onion, sweetcorn, and potato or cauliflower. Pour over the milk, and set on your smallest hob ring on a high heat. Cover and cook for six minutes, then reduce the heat as low as it will go.
- Milk has a tendency to boil over at a moment’s notice, so this will take slightly longer than cooking regular pasta, and you need to keep an eye on it. Simmer on a very low heat for a further six minutes, until the pasta is soft and swollen.
- Grate in the cheese, reserving some to one side if you intend to put it in the oven. If you are, grab a medium-sized roasting dish, and set your oven to 180C with a shelf in the centre.
- Drain your crab meat and add to the pan, and season to taste with cayenne or paprika, and plenty of black pepper.
- Transfer the pasta into your roasting dish and top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until crisp and golden, and serve immediately.
- To store leftovers, cool completely and transfer to airtight bags or containers. This dish will keep in the fridge for three days, or the freezer for two months. Defrost thoroughly and reheat to piping hot to serve.