Last summer, P and I took a trip to Costco with Sister and M just to see if there was anything we might need… you know, like like gigantic muffins or a two liter bottle of wine, but what we found was a beautiful brown leather chair. It was perfect in every way! It matched our brown leather sectional couch (exactly!), it swiveled, it rocked, it reclined… Did I mention it was perfect? We took turns sitting in the chair, discussing whether we could afford a pair of them, while Sister and M continued with their shopping. When it came time to check out, we still hadn’t decided, so vowed to continue the discussion. After a week, we still both really wanted it, and decided that we could make it happen. We drove to Costco to buy a couple, only to learn that it was no longer in stock!!! Apparently, we had found it at the end of “furniture season,” and where just a week before sat our perfect chair, now was filled with artificial Christmas trees and ribbon (no, I’m not kidding, there was an entire aisle of just ribbon!). We deeply regretted our earlier hesitancy, how could we ever find a chair that perfect again?!?…
Last week, I went to Costco on a whim with one of my coworkers. While I was there, out of habit, I walked toward the “seasonal” aisle to see whether they had any living room furniture displayed, and they DID! Lo and behold, there was the chair! The exact same one we wanted last year, at the exact same price point! I snapped a picture with my phone and sent it to P saying simply “THE CHAIR!”
While we were at the store, I wandered around to see if there was anything else that we simply couldn’t pass up, just in case. Enter, lobster.
When I saw this 2 pound bag of frozen Langostino Lobster Tails, I knew I had to have it, even though I wasn’t entirely sure what I would make with it (I even walked it back to its shelf twice, but couldn’t put it back).
I have a confession, even though I love me some macaroni and cheese, I’m pretty dismal at making it from scratch. I feel like my efforts always come out with sauce that is grainy, instead of velvety smooth. Part of that could be that I have a bad habit of using 1% milk to make white sauce (it’s what P likes on his cereal, and therefore what we have in the house) and using whole milk is infinitely preferrable. The other factor is, I think, using an aged cheese vs. young cheese. **Cooks Illustrated had a blurb in its most recent issue about the corrolation between cheese age and how smoothly it melts, it has to do with moisture content and casein protein.** I ended up using this recipe from The Culinary Chronicles as my inspiration, but made a couple of modifications, because I wanted even more decadence (like macaroni and cheese with lobster needs to be more decadent…)
Macaroni and Cheese with Lobster and Bacon
- ¾ Pound Pasta (I used medium shells)
- 2½ Cups Whole Milk
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 4 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
- 1 Shallot, small dice
- 2 Cups Gruyere Cheese, shredded
- 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- 1 Cup Fontina Cheese, cubed (Fontina is such a soft cheese, its difficult to shred unless you freeze it first)
- 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
- 4 Strips of Bacon, chopped
- 10 Ounces Cooked Lobster Meat
- ½ Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- 2 Tablespoon Fresh Chives, diced
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta following the directions on the package until it’s al dente. Drain well and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat another pot over medium high heat, and render the bacon until crisp and remove with a slotted spoon.
- Add the finely diced shallot to the bacon grease (a theme with my cooking, apparently) and sauté until it is beginning to soften, then add butter to the pot.
- Once the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk to combine. Let the flour cook until golden brown.
- Add milk and whisk to combine (be patient while it thickens).
- Once the sauce has thickened up a bit, remove the pot from heat and add in the cheeses.
- Stir until the cheeses have melted and then add in the Old Bay Seasoning.
- Add in the pasta, lobster, bacon, chives and combine.
- Pour the mixture into a greased 9×9 inch baking dish.
- Sprinkle the top with Panko and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.