What’s better than lobster, I would say it’s Lobster Mac and Cheese. Creamy mac and cheese baked until golden brown is yummy and delicious comfort food but adding sweet and succulent lobster meat to it creates magic in your mouth. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t enjoy having this upscale comfort meal on a special occasion.
Sweet chucks of lobster meat swimming in a delicious cheese sauce coats pasta shells that are topped with garlicky crunchy bread crumbs that creates a memorable meal perfect for any special occasion but is actually easy to prepare. The dish gets its great flavor from three cheeses, Fontina, Gruyère and Pecorino Romano. If you want to take the dish over the top, add a little creamy Mascarpone cheese to the mix. The lobster mac and cheese has a delicious crunchy topping made with garlicky Panko breadcrumbs, butter, lemon zest, parsley and Romano cheese. Comfort and gourmet all in one, making every bite special and delicious. I know that lobster is expensive but when you want a special meal, I can think of nothing better than this dish.
Lobster Mac and Cheese
Serves 4, adjust the recipe according.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 1/2 to 2/3 c. pasta per person, depending on the size of the pasta (I used a beautiful Cestini shell pasta from Abruzzo, Italy but any hollow pasta or pasta with ridges works well)
- 1 – 1/2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, minced fine
- 1/4 c.toasted Panko bread crumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
- 1/4 c. grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. flour (I used Wondra, an instant flour)
- 1 1/2 c. of milk, half and half or cream (I used half and half), more if sauce becomes too thick
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. white pepper
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 c. grated Fontina cheese
- 1/2 c. grated Gruyère cheese
- 1/4 c. Mascarpone cheese (optional)
- 1 c. cooked and chilled lobster meat, chopped (I used meat from 2 lobster tails about 6 – 8 oz. each)
Melt 1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil in a small pan and add the minced garlic and simmer until translucent. Remove from the heat and stir in the Panko breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, lemon zest and parsley until coated and crumbs are the consistency of wet sand. Add the Romano cheese, mix well then set aside for later.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente, about one minute less than the package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a saucepan until melted. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring for one minute. Slowly add the half and half and whisk until blended. Add the salt, pepper, onion powder and mustard, whisk and then simmer for a few minutes until you have a smooth sauce. Remove from the heat and add the Gruyère, Fontina and Mascarpone (if using) to the sauce.
When the pasta is done, drain well and add to the cheese sauce and stir until combined then add the cold lobster meat.
Transfer into a buttered baking dish then top with the Panko breadcrumbs. Place on a baking sheet and put in a 350 degree oven and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes or until bubbly. If not brown on the top, place under the broiler for a minute but watch carefully so that the crumbs don’t burn. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving.
Cook the pasta about a minute less than the directions on the box so that the pasta isn’t mushy after it is baked.
Before adding the cheese, remove the sauce from the heat so that the sauce doesn’t separate.
If you cheese sauce appears too thick, thin with a little milk.
I used meat from 2 Florida lobster tails about 6 – 8 oz. each but if you have access to a cold water 1 1/2 to 2 pound Maine lobster, that would be wonderful. The meat from the claws and knuckle is the sweetest and most tender lobster meat available.
Have your cooked lobster meat cold before adding the the dish, this will help prevent the lobster from overcooking and turning rubbery.
All of the ingredients that go into the baking dish are fully cooked and only need to baked until hot. If you overcook, the pasta will be mushy and the lobster tough.Cook’s notes
Sweet and succulent lobster meat is a gourmet treat any time but adding it to creamy mac and cheese that has a crunchy breadcrumb topping makes for an outstanding and delicious comfort meal. While its an easy recipe to make, the ingredients are what make this dish special enough to serve at an anniversary, birthday or a romantic Valentines dinner.