Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

Comfort food at its best: mac and cheese. Adding something a little indulgent like lobster meat can make it that much more special. Simple yet elegant, this dish will leave you feeling happily satisfied.


On a family trip to Boston Massachusetts, it was one of the best dishes I have ever eaten. Glad to have tried it out and here is my version to share. I hope you will enjoy making it for your family.


Called Alpermagronen in the Swiss Alps, Cheese Macaroni in the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand and the Colonies,  Macaroni Pie in the Caribbean, it is a comfort food everywhere. It is said that a " version" of this particular dish originated in Napoli, Italy, inscribed in one of the first cookbooks "Liber de Coquina" as early as the 14th century. This wonderful cookbook is still preserved in the Paris Library. A quick trip to Paris anyone?


Legend has it that President Jefferson returned with a pasta machine from his trip to Italy. His daughter who was the lady of the house prepared this dish which is now the famous mac and cheese as we know it, available everywhere world wide, freshly done in gourmet restaurants, in delis, and family-style diners. Also available in a box! There is only one ingredient that makes it a cut above the rest, simply depending on the preparation and love put into it!



Gourmet Lobster Mac and Cheese!



Ingredients


1/2 cup salted butter 

1/2 cup flour
3 to 4 cups milk
nutmeg to taste
salt to taste
mixed peppercorns to taste
a squeeze of lime or lemon; fresh
1 cup of  freshly grated assorted strong cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chives
Optionally  2 tbsp of either of your favourite liquor; Rum, Vodka or Gin
1 tsp of prepared mustard

250 gms/ 8 oz dry pasta of choice, pick from elbow macaroni, cavatelli or conchiglie

2 lobster tails, boiled, picked and cut into square chunks


Step 1
Clean and prepare the lobster tail. Season it with salt and squeeze the lemon juice over it.
If you are planning to include the optional liquor, pour it over the lobster meat.
Keep aside.

Step 2


In a pan melt 1/2 cup salted butter, add the flour and make a roux. Stir with a whisk until the butter starts to leave the pieces of roux. This will take 3 minutes.

Add 3 cups of milk. keep stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil once it is completely smooth. Keep the flame of the stove on medium or low. Add all the cheese. Stir to melt.  Stir and see how thick the sauce is. You may need additional milk to bring it to the right consistency. Taste for seasoning.

Step 3 

Prepare the pot to cook the pasta in;  6-8 cups water, a tsp of olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Add all the pasta to a pot of boiling hot water until just done. It may take 3 to 10 minutes depending on the type of pasta. Read the package instruction. Drain the water immediately. 

To assemble

Add the pasta to your prepared sauce, check the consistency, add the herbs and finally very gently fold in the lobster meat.
Remove into a baking dish, sprinkle it with bread crumbs and cheese.
Broil the dish for 3 minutes under your grill to see the top golden brown and the cheese will be melting and bubbling! 

Tips

Pick a pasta that is small and with some form of a tube, shell. This will "catch" the delicious cheesy sauce into it giving you a more uniform taste of everything in each bite.
If you have a choice using a fresh pasta makes it that much more special.
Also an egg noodle is a delicious alternate.
Fresh pasta and egg noodles generally have a shorter cooking time. Do not over cook the pasta as it will get mushy.

Herbs can be interchanged. Tarragon and Basil are great alternates for seafood.


Pick a cheddar that has bold flavour and melts well, Gruyere is my personal favourite. Similarly hard cheddars like Cornish or Welsh from the UK, or Comte and Beaufort from France and Jarlsberg from Norway are all perfect choices. Eventually it will be your taste bud that guides you toward the perfect cheese for your family!


Lobster tails are available ready to eat from most supermarkets and Delis. They can be small or large so aim to get about 1 measure cupful to the brim of the meat itself. 
Some markets have facilities to freshly steam them for you.
Fresh crab meat is the best substitute to lobster.

For more delicious comfort foods click on 

Niloufer's Kitchen:French Bistro
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J2KMB4C

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