If you can’t make the trip to Acapulco this Valentine’s day, I have the perfect recipe for you. My Mexican-inspired lobster mac & cheese. This dish is creamy, savory, tender and succulent all at the same time!
One of the reasons that I like this recipe is that it represents affordable luxury, and I am all about affordable luxury – pricey lobster coupled with decadent, highly accessible mac & cheese.
I am fairly calorie conscious in my daily regime, so I do not make mac & cheese often. I decided to riff off of a tried and true recipe from Chef John. I mixed things up by serving the mac & cheese in individual ramekins and adding fresh, succulent lobster tail meat prepared with butter, olive oil, sea salt and dried parsley.
This recipe makes 6 servings.
Ingredients For the Mac & Cheese
16 ounces macaroni pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3 cups milk
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Lobster Tail Preparation Directions
1-2 Baja lobster tails, chopped
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Mac & Cheese Directions
• Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
• Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the macaroni, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked through but still slightly firm, about 8 minutes. Drain well.
• Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter starts to foam and bubble, stir in the flour; cook on medium heat until flour just begins to turn pale yellow, 3 to 4 minutes. Add thyme, cayenne pepper, and white pepper; cook and stir another minute, then whisk in 1 cup of milk until smooth. Pour in remaining milk and whisk again. Bring the sauce just to a simmer.
• Stir in nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce, and salt; simmer on medium-low heat until thickened, about 8 minutes, whisking often. Turn heat off, then add 2 1/4 cups of Cheddar cheese; stir until melted and combined. Add Dijon mustard.
• Transfer the macaroni into a large bowl, then pour in the cheese sauce; stir to thoroughly combine sauce with pasta
• Set aside until lobster is ready
• Cut a slit in the underside of the tail. Remove the meat, using a fork if necessary to loosen it from the shell, pulling the meat from the wide end to the tail tip.
• Chop the lobster tail meat into, bite sized pieces – leave some chunky for garnish
• Add the sea salt to the chopped lobster. Toss to coat evenly
• Add the butter, olive oil and dried parsley to a medium-high heat sauté pan
• Add the lobster to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, it will be slightly undercooked
• Remove from heat
Assemble the Lobster Mac & Cheese
• Add the chopped lobster to the bowl of mac & cheese and stir to combine – reserve the chunky pieces of lobster for garnish
• Divide the prepared lobster mac & cheese into 6 individual ramekins
• Mix panko bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon melted butter in a small bowl, and sprinkle crumbs on top of macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup of Cheddar cheese on top.
• Add the lobster meat garnish – be sure to tuck it inside the mac & cheese
• Bake in the preheated oven until bread crumbs and Cheddar cheese topping are golden brown, about 20 minutes