Lobster Mac n' Cheese
Who doesn’t love lobster mac n’ cheese? It’s an inspired combination: the sweet lobster and tangy cheese, the crunchy topping and chewy meat. It’s also an inexpensive way to cook something that feels decadent. Lobster prices are so low these days and you can stretch the meat from a single lobster to feed a family.
Last week, Rockland, Maine, hosted its annual Lobsterpalooza celebration, culminating in a lobster mac n’ cheese competition. I was supposed to be a judge, but a last-minute illness kept me on the sidelines. Fortunately, the organizers sent along the two winning recipes.
Louise MacLellan-Ruf took first place in the Amateur category with her rich mac n’ cheese served in individual ramekins adorned with lobster tails. The recipe is below. Chaz Doherty, from Trackside Station Restaurant, took first place in the Professional category with a spicy Thai My Lobster dish, featuring Thai spices and served with chopsticks.
Lobster Mac and Cheese, Rockland Style
- 4 1/2 to 5 pounds lobster
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, plus more for baking dish
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/4 cup good quality dry sherry
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup mild cheddar
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat, cut into bite size pieces
- A healthy splash of sriracha or other hot sauce
- A shake of Worcestershire sauce
- A splash of maple syrup
- A few cloves of roasted garlic (optional) and tamale (if you have it).
- 1 pound box of Mini Farfalle (bow tie pasta), cooked al dente
- Crumb Topping (see recipe below)
- Garnish: Finely chopped parsley
Cook the lobsters according to your favorite method (Yankee’s technique of choice can be found here). Remove meat (you should have about 1 pound) and put shells in a large pot and cover halfway with water. Bring water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°. Butter 8 to 10 ramekins (depending on their size) or a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add cream and paprika and reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk to combine.
Whisk in sherry. Simmer 3-4 minutes then mix in 1/4 cup of the lobster broth.
When thickened, add mascarpone, cheddar, and cream cheese and stir. Add sriracha, Worcestershire, maple syrup, garlic (if using) and tamale.
Add the reserved lobster meat to the cheese sauce. Fold in the pasta. If the sauce needs thinning, add some additional lobster broth.
Divide the pasta mixture among the prepared ramekins or baking dish. Top with Crumb Topping, garnish with parsley, and bake until browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 to 10 servings
- 1 sleeve Ritz Crackers, crushed
- Zest of two lemons
- 1/4 cup melted butter
In a medium bowl, stir the ingredients together until evenly combined.