I like to watch the Food Network while I’m on the treadmill so I can fantazise about all the delicious things I’m going to eat when I’m skinny. But when I saw Ina Garten cooking up this lobster mac and cheese, I decided waiting to be skinny wasn’t going to cut it and had a casserole dish made within a week’s time.
Coming across this recipe was doubly fortunate because I had seen Foodie Buddha’s post on cheap losbter and was thinking of what I might do if I happend to find any. Unfortunately, my local Whole Foods did not have any fresh lobster meat, and I wasn’t feeling adventurous enough to cook any, so I had to buy the frozen variety (which was not so cheap).
Even without the lobster, this mac and cheese would have been excellent. It was extra cheesy (just how I like it) and had an added gourmet flair with the lobster meat. I added some cayenne pepper on the seasoning step to give an extra kick to the cheese sauce.
I halved the recipe below since I was only cooking for two, and used a 9×9 Pyrex dish instead of the individual gratins suggested. As for grating all that cheese, if you have a food processer, USE IT! Luckily I had a muscular kitchen helper on hand, because I would have had weak arms otherwise. I noticed that Ms. Gartin subscribes to the olive-oil-in-pasta-water belief, but I’m not one to oil my water and feel it’s a personal choice if you try out the lobstermac. Adding oil supposedly keeps pasta from sticking together, but can also make your pasta oily and possibly prevent sauce from sticking. One other change I made to the recipe was using premade bread crumbs I keep in my pantry as opposed to making my own. From there, the recipe is pretty simple!
Lobster Mac and Cheese
2009, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 10 min
Serves: 6 to 8 servings
- Kosher salt
- Vegetable oil
- 1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni
- 1 quart milk
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
- 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat
- 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. 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 a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and lobster and stir well. Place the mixture in 6 to 8 individual gratin dishes.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, 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.