Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lobster Mac and Cheese – Only Looks Hard

Every once in a while I post a video that makes a recipe look way harder than it is, and this “simple” lobster macaroni and cheese is one such dish. The problem has to do with the fact that for this kind of recipe, we’re preparing each of the main components simultaneously.    

While you finish your cheese sauce, you cook your pasta; in between stirs you cut up your lobster, and make your breadcrumbs. Nothing technically difficult, but since I decided to film the steps in the order I did them (instead of prepping things ahead and filming each component start to finish), this does look kind of daunting. It’s not.

You can actually prep these ahead, and bake before that romantic, possibly Valentine’s, dinner. You probably want to take them out and let them warm up for 30 minutes before before baking. By the way, only bake these until the tops are browned, and the inside is just hot. If you leave them in past that point, you’re risking the cheese breaking, and things will get greasy.

As far as the lobster goes, tails are pretty easy to find, and one 5 or 6-ounce tail per person is plenty with the rich, cheesy macaroni. Of course, you’ll want to check to make sure your sweetheart isn’t allergic to shellfish, because that would be a little awkward. Otherwise, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 large portions:
2 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 lobster tails (5-6 oz each)
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cold milk
cayenne to taste
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
pinch ground nutmeg
few drops Worcestershire sauce
4 ounces grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 1 generous packed cup)
1 ounce grated Gruyere cheese (about 1/3 cup)
1 generous cup elbow macaroni (1 cup, plus a tablespoon or so)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
*Note: Like I said in video, make sure your mac and cheese mixture is wet and saucy in the pan, otherwise it might get dry when it bakes. Don’t be afraid to add a splash of the pasta water to loosen things up.

For the crumbs:
3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon melted butter, or enough to moisten
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano 

 - Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, or until browned


Unknown said...

So I'm here in New England and my experience with eating lobster is that it really doesn't taste that fishy, yet times I have had this at restaurants its tasted fishy and consequently wasn't my favorite dish.

Is Lobster Mac & Cheese supposed to have that slightly fishy taste with the inclusion of the lobster water?

Robert said...

I was waiting for: "You're the Aaron Sorkin of your breadcrumb forkn'." But alas....

Chef John said...

Unless you're using old lobster, it shouldn't taste fishy!

Robert said...


Joel said...

Ha! I'll make sure I have a few things around for breakfast. You've helped me score many points with the ladies over the years - but that's not why I watch. Absolutely love your videos, Chef.

Unknown said...

I'm taking the old lady to McDonalds this valentines day. Thanks for the recipe though!

Billy said...

And five is way out!

Unknown said...

Hi Chef!

Why Spanish, rather than Hungarian paprika?

Unknown said...

Hey Chef John, long time watcher, first time commenter, i cant wait to make this dish. One quick question, any suggestions on a substitue cooking vessel, i do now own ceramic ramekins...

Anonymous said...

dry (Coleman's) mustard is a
no-no?? Really curious on this one!

Gripper99 said...

I prepared this as part of a dinner party tonite. I doubled the recipe, omitted the thyme, and baked it in one large gratin. I used Gruyere and Tillamook vintage white chedder. It served 6 as a side dish with steak, mashed sweet potatoes, and creamed spinach. There was a wee bit left. It firmed up after it cooled. I might try adding some garlic powder and onion powder and/or some Coleman's dried next time, and I think I'll make fried croquettes out of the left overs tomorrow. Delicious. Thank you Chef John.

Billy7 said...

So, Just put our batch in the oven.
Unfortunately had to leave out the lobster (and thyme) because we are poor.

Just to note, we doubled the batch for roux, cheese etc, and also used 1 box (1 pound or 16 ounces) of Prince elbows. Hope is comes out good and enough cheese/pasta ratio. Will let ya'll know.

Also from New England (Boston area) and are getting hit with the 3rd Blizzard of the season totalling over 72" of snow this year so far.....

Thanks Chef John for all your recipes and making Valentines Day special for us. Desperately need comfort food for this awful winter. Hopefully there's leftover for me to take to work tonight.

spudsnsuds said...

First time making this recipe and knocked it out of the park! Lobster and mac 'n cheese is our new Valentine's Day tradition.

Unknown said...

Awesome Mac and cheese recipe!
Was short on time and couldn't get non-frozen lobster tails so I subbed in bacon! Added some chopped jalapeños and our valentines dinner couldn't have gotten better!

Very easy to make and forgiving if you are not savvy with cooking. Your recipes are always great chef, hope to see many more.

Jesse Von Fange said...

My fiancé was like should we make lobster for dinner? And I was like let me show you something on my favorite YouTube channel. It was fate.

Made this for Valentine's Day. Much better than anything we could have gotten at a restaurant. I threw in a little broccoli and some black truffle for good measure.

Unknown said...

Howdy Chef!
I was wondering if you had any recipes for Lobster Thermidor.
My parents had it for their wedding, and now my dad is looking for a semi-easy recipe so he can surprise my mom for their anniversary. Any advice?

AndrewB said...

If I wanted to make this for 10 people will the recipe multiply easily? Can one easily make a roux that big or is it more difficult?

Unknown said...

Just wondering, could I make this with crawfish? It's my boyfriends favorite, but I've never had it before except in a chowder I tried recently. Couldn't really gauge the taste too much. Really liked the texture though.

Unknown said...

Can you use frozen lobster tails for this?

Unknown said...

Made this for my valentine tonight (2018). Chef John, you can’t steer me wrong. Followed the recipe almost to a T including the Au Gratin dishes. I had 7oz fresh tails which left me with extra meat to serve on the side but otherwise it was a fantastic dinner. Mild yet pleasant lobster flavor (especially after pan searing) and the creamy cheese sauce complemented all of the flavors perfectly. I used a soft Gruyere cheese and a Vermont white cheddar. Panko topping added a wonderful light crunch and I could go on and on but I must get back to the evening. Thanks, Chef John!