LOBSTER MAC & CHEESE

 

LOBSTER MAC & CHEESE

Macaroni  & Cheese. I hear the words and I begin to feel warm and cozy.  I can see the cheese pulling away from the bowl as my fork stabs the pasta with the goal of making it’s way to my mouth.  What is it about this comfort dish that transcends all ages and genders.  For children, it’s a top choice  running up against Chicken Fingers.  As adults, we gravitate towards the hot, bubbling cheese not to mention the toasted, buttery breadcrumbs sprinkled on top.  We use the word “comfort” a lot but it’s true, Mac n’ Cheese is pure comfort in an oven-proof bowl.  Each dip of the fork and each mouthful, can for a brief moment, make us feel as if there isn’t a care in the world – much like we felt as kids.  As I’ve grown, so has my versions of mac n’ cheese. The little girl version complete with peas and pieces of hot dog have made way for versions with ridiculously decadent brie, smoky Gouda, sharp Cheddars and smooth Mozzarella; as well as versions with pieces’ salty bacon and earthy Shitake or Hen O’ Woods mushrooms.  The indulgence that beats all is my lobster Mc n’ Cheese.  The base is still the my favorite blend of cheeses straight from the bag found at the grocery store but adding succulent pieces of sweet lobster meat takes me from my little girl taste to modern palette.

Most of us have our favorite ways of making this classic, and I do mine from scratch making sure my roux doesn’t burn. I have used half & half but honestly, whole milk is best when bleeding with flour and butter.  I will go old school and use classic elbow macaroni, but I also will look for pastas such as cavatappi, because I love the way the river of cheese finds its way into this pasta’s crevices.  The recipe I use is adapted  from Ina Garten, but I add a bit of oomph with some dry mustard and paprika.  When you’re in the need of some comfort inside and out, this is your antidote.

Lobster Mac N' Cheese

Served as a simple main dish with a green salad or in ramekins as a starter, this classic mac n’ cheese recipe here is one that will grow with you and your tastes. You can easily swap out the lobster and add shrimp, or pieces of barbecued chicken. You can also make it “meat” free and add broccoli, mushrooms, or other veggies of your choice. If using something sturdy such as broccoli, I would lightly steam the vegetable first then quickly sauté.

 Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni or pasta of your choice

  • 1 quart whole milk

  • 8 tablespoons 1 stick, unsalted butter

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups grated cheese for simplicity, I like to use the cheese blend found at the grocery store

  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard

  • ¼ teaspoon paprika

  • Salt & Pepper to taste

  • 1 ½ pounds cooked lobster meat cut into small pieces

  • 1 ½ cups bread crumbs such as Panko

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375*

  2. Bring to a boil a large pot of water, add the oli and cook the pasta per the directions on the box. Drain well.

  3. Heat the milk until it’s warm to the touch, but do not boil. You can do this in your microwave. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter and when completely melted, add the flour whisking, while it cooks over a low heat. When the flour is incorporated with the butter, add the warm milk and cook for 1 -2 minutes, whisking until smooth and creamy. Dip a spoon into the mixture and if you can make a streak without it bleeding through, it’s combined. Off the e stirring until all the cheese is thoroughly melted. Slowly add the cooked pasta and then lobster meat. Place the mixture into one baking dish or divide into individual oven-safe ramekins.

  4. Take the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and melt and add to the breadcrumbs combining well. Scatter on top of the mac n’ cheese and bake in the oven for 35-minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the pasta on top is browned.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa