Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lobster Macaroni & Cheese

I had a very grown-up New Year's Eve this year that consisted of staying in and cooking a 3-course dinner for my husband and another couple. I have to say, it was my favorite meal of the year! The starter course was a foccacia toast with roasted red pepper mayonnaise, steak, and oven dried tomato (blog post soon!). For the second course I served a French onion soup. And the main course, the star, was this amazing lobster macaroni & cheese! Imagine the most decadent, creamy, flavorful macaroni & cheese possible, then add fresh lobster meat to take it to a whole new level! This is definitely a splurge of a meal, but for a special occassion it is a crowd-pleaser with a major wow factor. Serve with a light green salad tossed in lemon vinaigrette and plenty of champagne! (Note, this recipe would also be delicious without the lobster.)

Lobster Macaroni & Cheese
A decadent and delicious baked pasta
Serves 4

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1/2 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni
1/2 quart mill
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (2 cups)
4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 pounds cooked lobster meat
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (3 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 3 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, 1/2 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and lobster and stir well. Place the mixture in a casserole dish that is rubbed with butter.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoons of butter, combine it 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.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, Food Network

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