homemade lobster macaroni and cheese! . . .

by mulberryshoots

Yesterday at the Stop and Shop, I happened upon a small cooked lobster at the seafood counter. I picked it up and asked the counterwoman if there were any more and she said she hadn’t had any time to steam any more because it had been so busy.

I decided to buy it anyhow and shelled it when I got home, thinking there might just be enough for a couple of lobster rolls for dinner but there didn’t seem to be enough for two of us.  Somehow, I got distracted and I decided to make the wild mushroom pasta with lemon sauce instead. So, what to do with the shelled lobster?

Many places I have looked feature a lobster macaroni and cheese dish which I’ve always thought was a cringe-worthy gilding the lily kind of dish. I mean, why would anyone put lobster into mac and cheese? Well, tonight, I’m going to find out. I looked at numerous lobster mac and cheese recipes online (Ree Drummond, Ina Garten, Bobby Flay,) and was struck by how expensive and how many types of cheese were included in their recipes to make the dish: cheddar, gruyere, goat cheese, fontina, pecorino, parmesan and on and on.

Being somewhat of a luddite when it comes to making an erstwhile pretty simple dish for supper, I went to the grocery store and bought extra-large elbow macaroni (the better to soak up the sauce); a package of Kraft white sharp grated cheese; and whole milk. I already had unsalted butter, flour and of course the lobster.

One of the tips from the recipes (I think it was Ree Drummond’s) was to lightly warm the lobster pieces in a skillet of melted butter first and then set aside; otherwise the lobster might be watery. After that,  it’s the usual 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons of flour stirred in to make a roux and then, adding whole milk to make a bechamel sauce base and then melting the cheese in it. I planned to do that, then folded in the buttered lobster pieces, mixing gently. For the finishing touch, I melted a little butter in the microwave and stirred some panko crumbs in it, covering them to make them brown in golden bits on top of the casserole. I then grated some fresh parmesan cheese on top and baked it in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

The proportions of the sauce and the macaroni was perfect as it baked – because when we served it, there was no gooey mess (too much sauce) and the plump elbow macaroni was scrumptions! I could have eaten the whole thing without lobster too – but that too was good. Gives me some more ideas of other simple macaroni casseroles to make – with ground beef, green peppers, onions and tomato sauce, right?