This whole blog post is going to be me attempting to convey my enthusiasm for this macaroni and cheese. I have wanted to make lobster macaroni and cheese for what feels like forever. But I’ve always hesitated. I’ve always doubted myself!
Does cheese and lobster actually go together?
Will it be good?
Is the price-point going to scare me and all of you away?
The first answer is YES. I don’t typically cook any sort of seafood with cheese but in this context it absolutely works. Will it be good? Umm…yes, it’s glorious. Will the price-point be scary? Not this time!
For this post, I teamed up with ALDI, where I went to get these VERY affordable and delicious wild-caught Maine lobster tails. FYI lobster tails are available in stores starting tomorrow (12/12)!! They also have lots of other holiday goodies at super affordable prices. Like this delicious 4 Year Aged Cheddar that gave this macaroni and cheese a nice, sharp flavor. I also picked up a wine advent calendar and it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I love it.
I gave a lot of thought to the other components of the mac n’ cheese. I paired the Aged Cheddar with gouda, which adds great meltability. Other options could be mozzarella or Gruyere. I also love adding Dijon mustard to a rich cheese sauce.
The gouda adds meltability and the Dijon mustard is necessary so it’s not too rich. The brininess from the lobster is so delicious in this macaroni and cheese.
I used 4 lobster tails, but this is totally doable with 2 lobster tails. The question is: how much do you like the people coming over?! Hahah.
I’m not a huge “baked macaroni and cheese” person. I usually like the creamy, stove-top version but this is with the crispy panko bread crumbs is absolutely delicious.
(This post is sponsored by ALDI. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep A Cozy Kitchen cozy.)
Lobster Macaroni and CheesePrint
Bread Crumb Topping:
- ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Pinch of salt
Macaroni + Cheese:
- 4 Specially Selected Maine Lobster Tails about 6 ounces total
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 cup grated Specially Selected 4 Year Aged cheddar
- 1 cup grated Specially Selected Gouda Cheese about 5 ounces
- 1 pound of pasta of choice I used rigatoni
- Chives as garnish
To Make the Buttery Bread Crumbs:
- To a small saucepan, set over medium heat, melt the butter. When melted, add the breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt. Mix until the breadcrumbs are thoroughly coated. Set aside.
To Cook the Lobster Tails:
- Bring a pot of salted water to a medium boil (should be a chill boil, nothing too aggressive). Drop the lobster tails into the water and cook for about 1 minute, until they mostly turn opaque. They will be undercooked, but no biggie, they’ll cook more in the pasta. Run them under cold water.
- Using kitchen scissors, cut the shell on both sides. Pull out the lobster meat and chop it up into bite-size pieces.
To Make the Macaroni + Cheese:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- To a medium pot, set over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the flour and mix it together and cook the flour butter mixture for about 1 minute. Pour in the milk in two batches, stirring continuously in between additions. Cook until it thickens up, about 2 to 3 minutes. It’ll start to bubble up and thicken. Give it a good whisk and be sure to get in those corners of the pan to get any floury bits up and mixed in. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Turn off the heat and whisk in the kosher salt, crushed red pepper, Dijon mustard and a few rounds of pepper. Give it a taste and adjust the salt to taste. Add the grated cheeses and mix them in until they’re melted. Cover the pot with a lid and set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package’s instructions, about 9 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and then immediately add it to the pot with the cheesy sauce, along with the reserved lobster. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Transfer to a 9 x 11-inch baking dish (or one that is comparable). Smooth it into an even layer and then top it with the reserved breadcrumbs.
- Transfer it to the oven to bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is lightly golden brown.