Seafood Shells and Cheese

Seafood Shells and Cheese

Seafood Shells and Cheese. A rich, indulgent version of mac and cheese ideal for a celebration dinner.

Course Seafood
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings or up to 8 as an appetizer course.
Calories 905 kcal


  • 2 cups medium sized shell pasta uncooked
  • 1 pound shrimp or other seafood either Lobster, Crab, Scallops
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 4 ounces smoked Gruyere cheese grated (You can substitute Asiago, Parmesan or Romano.)
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped tarragon or dill
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard preferably whole grain
  • 4 ounces mozzarella
  • 4 ounces Monterey Jack Emmental, Swiss or Jarlsberg Cheese, your preference.

For the Crumb Topping

  • 1 cup cracker or bread crumbs I use Ritz cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp chopped tarragon
  • Pinch of cracked black pepper
US Customary - Metric


  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water to al dente. Do not over cook it. Slightly undercooked would be preferable.
  2. Begin by lightly steaming the seafood. It is important not to over cook the seafood for this recipe. Under cooking it by 5 minutes or so is preferable because the seafood does get reheated and cooks somewhat in the oven as well. Shrimp and scallops can be used uncooked if you prefer. Uncooked large shrimp or medium size scallops or large chunks of cooked lobster, crab or cod or a combination of all work well.

To prepare the sauce

  1. Scald the milk in the microwave or on the stove top to almost boiling.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook together the 3 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp flour, salt and pepper for 2 minutes.
  3. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in scalded milk. Continue to cook for 2 more minutes stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the Gruyere cheese, tarragon and Dijon mustard. Set aside
  5. Grate the other cheeses, mix them together and set aside.
  6. Grease an 8-10 cup casserole dish well with butter (or 4 large individual gratin dishes)
  7. Place 1/3 of the pasta in the bottom of the dish.
  8. Pour on 1/3 the sauce.
  9. Scatter half the seafood over the surface.
  10. Repeat the layers ending with the grated cheese on the top.
  11. Mix all of the ingredients for the crumb topping together and sprinkle evenly over the grated cheese.
  12. Cover casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for 15 minutes longer.

Recipe Notes

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

Nutrition Facts
Seafood Shells and Cheese
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 905 Calories from Fat 432
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 48g 74%
Saturated Fat 26g 130%
Cholesterol 413mg 138%
Sodium 2071mg 86%
Potassium 491mg 14%
Total Carbohydrates 55g 18%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 11g
Protein 60g 120%
Vitamin A 26.3%
Vitamin C 5.6%
Calcium 113.4%
Iron 28.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.