Several weeks ago we had dinner out and one of the side dishes offered was Lobster Mac and Cheese. My husband chose this option as part of his dinner and when it arrived it looked soooo good. On tasting it he said it was the best he had ever had, so of course I had to try my hand at making it. What could be so difficult about adding some lobster to basic mac and cheese?
Well, before I got around to trying it out a new issue of Food Network Magazine arrived, and in it was a recipe for Lobster Mac and Cheese by Ina Garten from her newest cookbook Barefoot Contessa, Foolproof. So there was no need for me to develop a recipe when I now had one from a well-known celebrity chef.
With some minor modifications, and making only half the recipe, I made it last week and my husband said it was the best he has ever eaten. ( He always knows just the right thing to say!) Without his having said that, I would have said the same thing: it is THE BEST I have ever made. Not only does the addition of lobster elevate it above the ordinary, but the cheeses used made a velvety smooth sauce. I used Panko crumbs and butter for the topping instead of white bread crumbs, and they browned up nicely for a crunchy topping. Served with a hearty mixed greens and vegetables salad, it was a most satisfying meal.
LOBSTER MAC AND CHEESE
SERVES: 6 – 8
- 1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni
- 1 quart whole milk
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups grated Gruyere cheese ( 12 ounces ) I used Gouda cheese.
- 2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar ( 8 ounces )
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 pounds lobster meat, 1/2 inch dice
- 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs ( 5 slices, crusts removed)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large baking dish, or several individual gratin dishes.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook al dente according to the directions on the package . Drain well.
3. Heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t allow it to boil. In a large saucepan, melt 6 Tablespoons of the butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat, add the cheeses, 1 Tablespoon salt, the pepper and nutmeg and stir until the cheese melts.
4. Stir in the cooked pasta and fold in the lobster.
Pile the mixture into the prepared baking dish, or dishes.
5. Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter; combine with the bread crumbs and sprinkle on top. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the pasta is browned on top.
SOURCE: slightly adapted from Ina Garten, via Food Network Magazine