When early June rolls around each year, I start dreaming of lobster.  Not quite literally, of course, but it’s a food I feel no summer in New England would be complete without.  Bright red, juicy claw meat dipped in butter.  The struggle to bust the tail out of the shell…and then dipped in melted butter.  A side of local sweet corn rolled in salt, pepper, and yes, more butter.  It’s quite a meal and my gosh I love it!

Sometimes I hold off on this if we have a vacation planned so that I can indulge at a wooden picnic table under an umbrella with the salty sea air spritzing my face but this summer I couldn’t wait.  Until the last couple weeks of July, we had no vacation planned and I was starting to fret that I’d miss out on one of my favorite summer treats.  So I made lobster mac n’ cheese.  It’s a recipe I’ve had on my to-make list for what seems like years and it certainly didn’t disappoint.  And really, it was no more difficult to make than regular mac n’ cheese.

If you can’t find cooked lobster in your seafood market or grocery store and you’re petrified of cooking a whole lobster, see if you can find frozen tails.  You’ll need to thaw them in the fridge first, but steaming them only takes about 12 minutes.  And that’s the most complicated thing about the whole recipe – the rest is just a basic mac n’ cheese recipe.  We devoured this mac n’ cheese for a casual Friday night dinner (a halved recipe for the two of us) and ate the leftovers for lunches but if you’re having company, this would be a fantastic meal to serve – fancy and comforting at the same time!

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Lobster Mac n’ Cheese
source: adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb cavatappi or elbow macaroni
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk (skim is fine)
  • 12 oz Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
  • 8 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 lbs cooked lobster meat, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Set aside a 13×9-inch baking dish or 6 to 8 individual gratin dishes.  Cook pasta according to package directions in a large stockpot but cut the cook time down by 3 minutes – it will finish cooking in the oven; drain pasta well and return it to the hot pot.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 1/2 minutes, whisking constantly.  Slowly whisk the milk into the butter-flour mixture (called a roux) until no lumps remain.  Heat the milk, stirring frequently, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon and starts to bubble in the center of the saucepan (this should take about 5-7 minutes).  Once it bubbles, let it cook, stirring the bottom of the pan to prevent burning, for 2 minutes.  Off the heat, add in a handful of cheese, stirring it into the milk with a rubber spatula until it is completely melted; repeat with the remaining cheese.  Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  3. While the milk cooks, melt the 2 remaining tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Toss in the bread crumbs with the melted butter and toast them until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally at first then frequently towards the end.  Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  4. Add the lobster meat into the cheese sauce then pour the entire mixture over the hot pasta in the stockpot.  Mix everything together well, making sure the pasta is well-coated with the sauce.  Transfer to the baking dish(es) and place it/them to a baking sheet to avoid spillage on the bottom of the oven.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the top of the mac n’ cheese.  Bake the large dish for 45-50 minutes and the smaller dishes for 30-35 minutes, until the mac n’ cheese is bubbly.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

[/print_this]

 

Lobster Mac n’ Cheese

  • Prep Time: 25min
  • Cook Time: 45-50min
  • Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cavatappi or elbow macaroni
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk (skim is fine)
  • 12 oz Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
  • 8 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 ½ lbs cooked lobster meat, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs

Instructions

  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Set aside a 13×9-inch baking dish or 6 to 8 individual gratin dishes.  Cook pasta according to package directions in a large stockpot but cut the cook time down by 3 minutes – it will finish cooking in the oven; drain pasta well and return it to the hot pot.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 ½ minutes, whisking constantly.  Slowly whisk the milk into the butter-flour mixture (called a roux) until no lumps remain.  Heat the milk, stirring frequently, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon and starts to bubble in the center of the saucepan (this should take about 5-7 minutes).  Once it bubbles, let it cook, stirring the bottom of the pan to prevent burning, for 2 minutes.  Off the heat, add in a handful of cheese, stirring it into the milk with a rubber spatula until it is completely melted; repeat with the remaining cheese.  Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

  • 03

    While the milk cooks, melt the 2 remaining tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Toss in the bread crumbs with the melted butter and toast them until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally at first then frequently towards the end.  Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

  • 04

    Add the lobster meat into the cheese sauce then pour the entire mixture over the hot pasta in the stockpot.  Mix everything together well, making sure the pasta is well-coated with the sauce.  Transfer to the baking dish(es) and place it/them to a baking sheet to avoid spillage on the bottom of the oven.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the top of the mac n’ cheese.  Bake the large dish for 45-50 minutes and the smaller dishes for 30-35 minutes, until the mac n’ cheese is bubbly.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

adapted from Ina Garten

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  • August 17, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Suddenly, my bowl of oatmeal right now is wwaaayyy less appetizing. I need this mac and cheese right now.

  • August 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    I’m on my way to Maine next month . . . this will be the perfect prelude. I don’t think I could get enough lobster.

  • Holy cow this sounds so amazing!! Unfortunately I live in Arizona so I have literally zero access to fresh seafood – but thanks for sharing the tip about using frozen lobster tails, that will come in handy!

  • Laurie Ehlke
    August 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    Instead of salt, add a teaspoon or so of Better Than Bouillon Lobster Base…makes it taste like you slaved over a homemade Lobster stock! I’ve made a similar version for years 🙂 When I am too lazy to make the actual Lobster stock, I “cheat” and use the store bought base….

  • August 22, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    I’m obsessed with mac n cheese and this looks unbelievable! If I ever get my hands on some lobster meat I’m definitely trying this ASAP

  • August 24, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    I’ve always wanted to try lobster mac and cheese and this looks just amazing – so rich and creamy with a lovely crunchy top! I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and thanks for the inspiration…

  • Lindsay
    December 30, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Around Christmas time, its tradition for us to have lobster. In a rare event, we happened to have some left over lobster. I was looking for a fun recipe, and stumbled onto your blog. Made this tonight – thank you so much! It was amazing – a hit for the whole family 🙂

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