Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Okay folks!  I'm back and promise (sort of) that I won't ever leave for that long again.  I'm back in the saddle and although I'm traveling a ton in the next month and a half, we do have to eat while I'm home, eh? 

I spend a lot of time in Boston for work, and one of my favorite things about going there is that there is so much lobster.  Lobster rolls, lobster pie, lobster pasta, lobster salad, lobster....lobster.  So when we were planning our menu for our New Year's Eve dinner party, lobster only seemed fitting.  I'm not really sure why, but it did.  Come to find out, it's kind of hard to find lobster in Virginia in January.  Also, it turns out that I don't really know how to cook lobster, and that made for a cooking experience that was more interesting than I had planned.  They make it look so easy on the Reb Lobster commercials.

Anyway, since lobsters in Virginia in January aren't cheap, I decided that I'd make something with lobster IN it, and that everyone wouldn't get their own lobster.  Because it would be pretty awkward to charge an admission fee when you invite people over for dinner.  The mac and cheese was a perfect companion for the filet mignons and arugula salad that rounded out the dinner.  Let me warn you...this stuff ain't good for you.  The amount of butter and cheese in this dish is off the charts, so this is best eaten in moderation or on a treadmill.


Lobster Mac and Cheese
Source: Barefoot Contessa

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni, very slightly short of al dente
1 quart milk (I used 1%)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
½ cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (3 cups)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1½ pounds cooked lobster meat (I used 2 whole lobsters)
1½ cups panko bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 7 minutes or until slightly short of al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t allow it to come to a boil. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for another minute or two, until thickened and smooth.

Off the heat, add both the cheeses, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and lobster and stir well. Place the mixture in a lightly greased casserole dish.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the panko, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

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