We started off our holiday celebrations this year with a lobster boil! We flew 18 live lobsters from Boston all the way to Lodi, Wisconsin, set up a large turkey frier outside in the freezing Midwestern winter for boiling, and melted some butter in a teacup back in the warm kitchen. We definitely consumed our fair share of lobster, but we did have some leftover. Our brother had made us some amazing bacon macaroni and cheese over Thanksgiving, so there was an instantaneous and unanimous vote to use the leftover lobster as a substitute for bacon and make this mac & cheese again. I have to say, the lobster addition is pretty great, but you'll love the bacon just as much so definitely make this even if you don't happen to randomly fly 18 lobsters over from Boston on a regular basis... and even without bacon it's delicious and amazingly creamy so I'd go for it as a vegetarian too. But obviously not if you're vegan- you can't leave out the cheese! To be honest, we actually made both the lobster mac&cheese AND the bacon mac&cheese... we couldn't resist! I'm not going to argue that this is the most healthy macaroni and cheese recipe, but my opinion is that no mac & cheese is healthy, so why not make it taste amazing and just eat less at a time? This recipe makes quite a bit though, so invite some friends over and let them devour it with you so that you don't have to resist the guilt of eating all of the leftovers. You also don't have to add the broccoli, but I think it adds a nice crunch! I like to use a more textured pasta than simple macaroni since it seems to make the cheese stick to the pasta a bit better, but feel free to use any short-shaped pasta you'd like!

lobster or bacon mac & triple cheese bake

1 16 ounce box pipette rigate
8 ounces gruyere, shredded
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
8 ounces shredded provolone
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 t salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
About 1 cup lobster meat or 8 strips cooked bacon, cut up into small pieces (it's better when it's crispy!)- you can leave this out if you want a vegetarian version! If you're skipping the meat, maybe consider adding some herbs for a different kind of flavor kick
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 to 1 cup breadcrumbs, however much looks good to you!

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Make sure to stop the pasta at al dente because it's going to cook a little more in the oven! Preheat the oven to 375. Before you start to make the roux, make sure you have all of the cheese shredded because the process is really quick! Melt the butter in a large pot (very large! You're going to be adding the cooked pasta to this pot and you don't want it to overflow when you mix!) and then mix in the flour. Once you've made this roux, add the heavy cream and stir to a homogenous mixture. Add the salt and pepper and then stir over medium heat for a couple minutes until the cream begins to thicken. Then add the shredded cheese, just a handful at a time, stirring well until melted before you add the next handful. Once the cheese mixture is complete, add the cooked pasta to the pot and stir well to combine. Add the lobster meat or bacon bits and the broccoli florets and stir well. Pour into a large 9X13 casserole pan and top with breadcrumbs. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, then at 400 degrees for five more minutes. Enjoy!!

last bite, best bite!

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