Not Valentine's Day. Because we're supposed to hate it, right? I don't....care about it, honestly. We sometimes do something for Valentine's Day, we sometimes don't, but I always try to make a fun fancy meal for the blog this time of year. This year will be a twofer! I made this for the local newspaper but wanted to share it here too, and there's another fun Valentine's surprise comin' atcha too!
Because if there is ever a month to deserve 2 fancy meals, it's February, right? January is all resolution-y, March is allllmost springy, February needs comfort and decadence. Enter....lobster mac and cheese.
This is a little bit different from my regular mac and cheese recipes in that I use a slightly milder cheese base. Because the lobster is so delicate and almost sweet, I didn't want any strong cheeses to get in the way of the flavor. This is a great use for on-sale lobster - I used 2 frozen lobster tails that were on sale - they're a great fun ingredient to have around, and easier to work with than a whole live lobster.
To process the lobster tails, boil them for 7 minutes until they turn bright pink and curl up just a bit.
When the lobster has cooled enough for you to handle it, take it out of the shells and chop it up. I use scissors to cut down the center of both sides of each tail, then I pull the meat out and cut it into large chunks.
Now, for the rest of the dish we have pasta, butter, flour, minced garlic, milk, cream, spicy mustard, grated fontina cheese, parmesan, and bread crumbs. I have seasoned bread crumbs here, but any kind that you have on hand are just fine.
For the mac! Boil the pasta to very al dente, about 2 minutes less than the al dente time on the package, then drain it and set it aside. Start with a traditional roux + milk sauce. In the bottom of a large pot, add the butter, garlic, and flour.
Stir the ingredients together until the butter foams and the garlic softens slightly. Then, keep stirring as you pour in the milk slowly. This will allow the milk to combine with the flour mixture and thicken.
When the milk is incorporated into the roux, turn the heat to medium-high and let the milk come to a bubble. When the mixture boils, reduce the heat to medium and add the cheese, cream, and mustard to the sauce.
Stir the cheese into the milk mixture for just a minute or so, then add the pasta and the lobster chunks. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to your preference. It should taste great!
Now, pour the mac and cheese into little dishes (or one big dish, your call).
Top the mac and cheese evenly with the parmesan and bread crumbs, and we're all done! You can make this a day or so in advance or bake it right away. When you're ready to bake this, do so at 375F until the mac is bubbly and the cheese is slightly browned on top, about 25 minutes or more if this has been in the fridge.
Salad + bread + wine make this a meal, and Valentine's or any other day is handled.
Lobster Mac and Cheese
- 2 medium frozen lobster tails
- 8 ounces short-cut pasta such as fusilli boiled to 2 minutes before al dente and drained
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup half and half
- 8 ounces grated fontina cheese
- 1 tablespoon deli mustard
- Salt and pepper
- 4 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the lobster tails and boil for 5-7 minutes until they are bright pink. Remove from the water and let them cool.
- 2. When the lobster is cool to the touch, use kitchen scissors to cut the lobster shell down the middle, then use your fingers to pull out as much meat as you can. Chop the lobster meat into large chunks and discard the shell.
- 3. Heat a large pot to medium heat and preheat the oven to 400F. To the pot, add the butter, garlic, and flour. Stir together for 2 minutes until the flour and butter are mixed and the garlic is soft but not browned.
- 4. Keep stirring while you slowly pour in the milk and cream. Increase the heat on the stove to medium-high and stir the milk flour mixture until it boils and thickens.
- 5. Stir in the mustard and fontina cheese for 2 minutes. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to your preference – it should be very flavorful!
- 6. Turn the heat off the stove and stir in the pasta and lobster chunks. Stir to combine and taste one more time for seasoning.
- 7. Transfer the mac and cheese to small baking dishes (or just one large one!). Place the dishes on a larger baking sheet and top evenly with the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
- 8. Bake the mac and cheese for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and browned on top. Enjoy!