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Lobster Mac and Cheese

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Lobster Macaroni & Cheese is one of my top 3 favorite American dishes, and for a while I had been thinking about creating my own version. But despite of what most people think of a mac’ n cheese recipe, I consider it one of those that either turns out fantastic or it is a complete disaster.  So when I came across my friend Alejandra Ramos’ tutorial of an extra creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese, I finally found the perfect basic recipe to dress up. My version also got a touch of luxury from black truffle oil and a Brazilian twist with the farofa topping. Enjoy this rich and delightful dish in a cold night, with good company and a glass of wine. Cheers!

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 6 lobster tails (if previously frozen, defrosted)
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) box of small dry pasta (such as elbow macaroni, penne, gemelli, or shells)

Ingredients for Farofa Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ cup yuca flour (manioc flour)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried coriander
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup scallions, finely chopped

Ingredients for Cheese Sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 8 ounces Gruyere, grated
  • 8 ounces Fontina, grated
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (preferably freshly grated)
  • Black truffle oil, for drizzling
  • Chives, for garnishing (optional)

Directions for Lobster:

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add ¼ cup salt. Drop the tails carefully and cook until shell turns red, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from water and set aside to cool.

Crack shells and remove meat. Roughly chop the meat and set aside.

Directions for Pasta:

Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt generously, and cook pasta according to box directions until "al dente." Drain pasta and set aside. Drizzle with a little bit of canola oil to prevent sticking.

Directions for Farofa Topping:

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat melt butter and olive oil until foamy. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until translucent, 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 40 seconds. Add yuca flour, dried coriander, and smoked paprika. Cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in scallions and serve.

Directions for Cheese Sauce (See Cook’s Notes):

Place a large pot over medium-high heat and melt the butter until foamy. Add the flour and stir in for one minute until fully incorporated with the butter. Slowly pour in the four cups of milk and stir continuously until the sauce thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Stir in cayenne, smoked paprika and dry mustard. Add the cheeses and stir in until completely melted and incorporated. If the sauce seems a bit thick, add in ½ cup or so of milk and stir in completely to thin. Add cooked pasta and lobster. Stir gently until mixed.

Transfer to a large serving dish. Sprinkle generously with the Farofa topping, drizzle with black truffle oil and garnish with chives. Serve immediately.

macandcheese-lobster

Cook’s Notes:      

Before starting the cheese sauce, make sure you have measured out and prepared all your spices, the flour, the milk, and the cheese you will be using in the sauce since the cooking process is fairly quick and it requires that you stir constantly.

It is probably hard for anyone who was been raised in the US to believe that a person who is 37-years- old, has a kid and has been living here for 12 years, had never made macaroni and cheese before. Well, this is not completely true; I had tried making it once without a lot of success… I know, you are probably thinking: “how someone who loves cooking and has been doing it for so long doesn’t get it right?” I guess it also depends on what most people understand about getting a mac & cheese “right”.

I had been looking for an AMAZING macaroni and cheese recipe for a very long time. I love macaroni and cheese, but I cannot stand most of the recipes I have tried in most of the parties and barbecues I have been (or especially the boxed kinds). I think that 95% of times the recipes turn out way to dry. So when I saw my friend’s Alejandra Ramos post “How to Make Stove Top Mac & Cheese” on her blog www.alwaysorderdessert.com I knew my search for the perfect creamy macaroni and cheese recipe was over! She makes it extra flavorful and moist by not being shy on the amounts of Béchamel and cheeses she adds to the pasta. Also, she adds some unexpected spices, like cayenne pepper, smoked paprika and dry mustard. Click here to see her tutorial.

So I started with Alejandra’s basic recipe and added some gourmet cheeses (for what she calls “adult version). Now, to the next developments…

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese is listed among my top 3 all-time American delights. Despite the fact I lived in San Diego for 9 years before I moved to Indiana, I had never cooked lobster before. I was debating in between bringing some live creatures home, man-up and throw them in a pot of boiling water (the grocery store I use has a live lobster tank); or actually do what I ended up doing: being chicken and boring and start with frozen tails. I was happy with the final result! The richness of the cheeses and creaminess of the sauce are the true stars of the dish. The lobster just compliments it all!

Finally, I could not resist on adding my own spin: the crunchiness of Farofa, the traditional Brazilian side dish or topping made out of spices and yuca flour. If you haven’t tried Farofa yet, try it on top of this American classic. I guarantee you won’t regret.

One last thing about this dish: there is no need to brown the top in the oven broiler because the Farofa is cooked on the stove top before added to the pasta, which helps on keeping the moisture in. Click here to see my post for Farofa recipe.

mac-n-cheese-ultimate-lobster-gourmet

The ultimate Lobster Macaroni and Cheese bite!

mac-and-cheese-with-lobster-truffle-oil

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