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Thursday February 5, 2009 3:15 pm

Recipe: Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

macncheese

As a Foodnetwork addict I am constantly experimenting with great recipes from from my favorite shows.  On Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello on an episode entitled “Pot luck challenge”, Jan Birnbaum, chef and restaurateur, caught my eye with an upscale, hearty mac n’ cheese.

The original recipe called for shrimp, which I was all about, but after visiting the seafood counter at Whole Foods, husband and I couldn’t resist the lobster meat (shrimp vs. lobster? no contest). So we splurged justifying that this would be our Superbowl Sunday feast.

Here is my adaptation of Jan’s recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 box medium shell pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup tasso ham or bacon (I used bacon)
  • 5 large shallots, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, mined
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white wine (see review below)
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 cup grated fontina
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheddar (I prefer mild but sharp would be great too)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 6-8 oz lobster meat cut up in good bite size chunks (we bought the precooked tub at the seafood counter)
  • 2 cups gently packed spinach
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper
  • Hot pepper sauce, to taste (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs ( I used panko, my new favorite thing)
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leave

Directions

Preheat broiler.

Bring a large post of water to a rolling boil, add pasta shells and cook al dente, according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add the olive oil and tasso or bacon, cook until just crisp,

then add shallots and garlic. Cook and stir over moderate heat just until shallots are translucent. Add the flour, cook stirring constantly to blend and toast the flour, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine, reduce until almost dry. Add the cream, bring to a simmer until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses, lobster and spinach. Gently stir until cheese is melted, spinach is wilted and lobster is heated through. Season with salt and white pepper, to taste. Season with hot sauce, to taste.

Drain the pasta, making sure to shake all of the water off and out of the shells.

In a large ovenproof baking dish, place drained shells. Add the cheese and lobster mixture and gently fold into the pasta. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs/panko and chopped parsley. Place under the broiler until the breadcrumbs are toasted about 2 to 3 minutes.

Review

Overall, I thought this was a pretty great recipe, but I would make some changes for next time. For one, I would not use a whole cup of wine.  The wine flavor was nice, but seems a little much for a good, hearty mac n’ cheese.  Maybe I would use only a 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup.  Secondly, MORE CHEESE.  It seemed like I was adding a lot of cheese to the sauce, but once I scooped out the final dish into my bowl, I knew I should have added more.  You can never have too much cheese in a dish like this.

I will definitely make this dish again, maybe even for a potluck or party.  For a cheaper dish, I would even leave out the seafood completely.

Click here to link to Jan’s original recipe using shrimp.  Enjoy!!

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