Lobster Mac & Cheese

Thursday, January 6, 2011 - 
While in Wisconsin, hubby and I always stop at Maplewood Meats and Festival Foods.  We stock up our cooler (yup, as Michelle pointed out, we do travel with a cooler!) full of meat from the butcher and around the holidays, seafood from Festival.

Yes - seafood in Wisconsin.

Festival always has amazing products for a great price.  We stocked up on Alaskan King Crab legs (two pounds worth and we enjoyed every morsel), prawns and lobster.  Honestly, all reasonably priced and fantastic in taste.  We had already enjoyed the crab legs, so next up was one of the lobster tails.  We bought two of them, each over a pound, and decided to split them into two meals.

As many of you know, I love cheese.  I've always said that it is not because I am from Wisconsin - I just love the dairy - but honestly, who knows.  All I know is that I love the cheese.  So when we were debating on how to eat our lovely seafood purchase, I knew I had to have lobster mac & cheese.

While a variety of noodles cooked (I used what was in our pantry rather than making my own, so we had some rotini and macaroni,) hubby got to preparing the broth to cook the lobster.  He added a variety of spices to some water, and then when the time was right, he added the lobster to cook that delicious meat.  Now of course, buying the seafood in Wisco, the delicious lobster tail was frozen.  And this lobster was also very large, over a pound, so it took about 8-10 minutes to cook .

As Tim prepped the lobster mania, I took control over - you guessed it - the cheese.  I began to make a version of the mother of French sauces, Bechamel.  Bechamel is a basic sauce of milk, flour and butter plus a few extra flavorings (depending on what you are making.)  I began with heating my milk in a small saucepan (don't boil - you don't want it to burn!) as I shredded the cheese.

I used some gouda, sharp cheddar, an Italian mix (Asiago, Parmesan and Mozzarella) and a few tablespoons of goat cheese.  I then melted some butter and whisked in flour to get a thickened rue as I cooked it over low heat.  I whisked in the warm milk and added nutmeg and pepper until I got a pretty thick sauce.  Then, I slowly melted in the cheese - and just like that - a cheese sauce.

After I added the pasta and Tim chopped up the lobster, we were ready to dive into this cheesy mess that we had created.  I would have liked to take it a step further and bake it with panko to give it an extra crunch too, but hubby isn't a fan of the baked mac.

It was creamy - I would say maybe even a little too cheesy (I know, I said it, too cheesy) but maybe the baking would have helped it?  It wasn't the fantastic lobster mac and cheese from Capital Grille, but it was a great home version for us.  And the leftovers the following day hit the spot for me - despite it not being the "healthiest" dish, I still gobbled it up.

What dish have you eaten at a restaurant that you wish you could make at home?