Happy holiday Monday. I hope that lots of you have a long weekend and plenty of time for fun and relaxation.
It has been a busy weekend here. On Friday morning we went to see a puppy at a shelter, and fell in love and decided to take him home. We didn’t have our apartment ready yet, and hadn’t been shopping for puppy supplies, so we spent most of Friday setting everything up.
He has been wonderful so far, but nonetheless we were pretty tired on Saturday morning. I went for a long-ish run in the morning, then my husband played basketball for awhile, and then we spent the afternoon playing with Dendu in the park and watching movies. We capped off our Valentine’s Day with home-made lobster macaroni and cheese and some nice wine. It was divine.
(Full disclosure: I took these photos the next day, and the mac and cheese was cold…it was prettier when it came out of the oven)
If you have the day off, go to the store right now to pick up a couple of lobster tails and some fancy cheese, because this dish is amazing. The combination of rich gruyere, light fontina, and creamy mascarpone is perfect, and a generous pour of cognac and a dash of nutmeg put it over the top. Though rich and creamy, the cheese sauce is flavored lightly enough to let the sweet flavor of lobster shine through. This dish is as good as it gets.
- 12 ounces pasta shells
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I made my own from 2 slices whole grain bread)
- 1⁄8 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 6 ounces le gruyere
- 6 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
- 6 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 2 tablespoons brandy or cognac
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 12 ounces cooked lobster meat, cut into 1″ chunks (we used 2 large lobster tails)
- 3 tablespoons chives, minced
- 2 scallions, sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 inch round casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for half of the time indicated on the package. Drain and add the lobster. Set aside.
2, Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a small pan. Add the breadcrumbs, stirring to coat, and cook until browned, about 4 minutes.
3. Grate the gruyere and fontina, set aside.
4. In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the flour, stirring continuously with a whisk to create a smooth roux. Slowly add the milk, whisking vigorously to combine. Cook over medium heat until thickened and just about to simmer, about 10 minutes. Add three quarters of the grated cheese, mascarpone, brandy, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Stir until the cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and lobster, stir to combine. Stir in half of the chives and scallions. Pour into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the top, and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top and bubbly. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining scallions and chives.
Makes 6 small or 4 very large servings.
Recipe adapted from “From Away.”