Chris' Recipes

Bon Appetite!

Shrimp and Lobster Mac and Cheese

Written By: Chris - Oct• 06•15

So I had picked up some great looking little fresh lobster tails at Costco the other day; thinking I was going to treat ourselves a bit.  I don’t indulge too often in Lobster because A, you never know how fresh it is here in Minnesota and B, it’s a little spendy.  These passed my poke and smell test; so into my cart they went.  When it was time to start thinking about dinner a few days later, I asked Bill if he wanted Lobster Bisque, or Lobster Mac and Cheese.  Did I really need to ask?  Bill loves pasta and since I’ve been cutting back a bit on the carbs, he was excited.  Can you say “Happy Dance”?!

I realize that the normal go to cheese for lobster mac is Gruyere or Fontina, but I didn’t have either of those.   I do my best to utilize ingredients that I have on hand, while trying to avoid extra trips to the grocery store .  After rummaging through the fridge, I found a new tub of Mascarpone that I had picked up from Trader Joe’s; a big block of White Cheddar, some shredded Cheddar and a bit of shredded Monterey Jack – so I was going to try something new!  Although Lobster was the luxurious centerpiece to this dish, I also decided to stretch it a bit and used it in combination with some nice left over cooked shrimp that I had.  It takes a bit of steps to prepare, but this mac and cheese is a fantastic meal and worth every effort!

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Ingredients: 

1 Pound Pasta, I used shells – but use what you like!
4 Lobster Tails, (about 1 lb. cooked meat shelled and deveined)
1 lb. cooked Shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 Onion, chopped small
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to cook onion
Cheese Sauce:
4 Tablespoons
4 Tablespoons Flour
1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Cup Almond Milk
1 1/2 Cups Half & Half
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Topping:
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Garlic Clove, pressed
1/2 Lemon ZEST
4 Tablespoons Fresh Oregano, chopped
1 1/2 Cups Pankio Crumbs
4 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, chopped for garnish
Salt & Pepper, to taste

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Start by washing and cleaning your shrimp and lobster.  (I had freshpre-cooked shrimp) 

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Add an inch of water in the bottom of a stock pot, that has been lined with a steam tray.  Once the water is boiling, add the lobster tails within the shells and cover.  Steam for no more than seven minutes!  Remove from heat and allow to cool on paper towels.

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Once cooled, use a kitchen sheers to cut down the back of the tails and remove the shell.

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Remove the large inner vein and rinse under cool water.  Allow to dry on paper towels.

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Chop both the shrimp and the lobster into small bite sized pieces.  Meanwhile, remove the steam pan and using the same water you steamed the lobster in, add salt and enough additional water to cook pasta according to the package directions, making sure the noodles are extra al dente.  (I pulled them out about two minutes earlier than I normally would.) Drain and set aside.

Cook the chopped onion over medium heat until it is caramelized.

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While the pasta is cooking, start the cheese sauce by making a roux.  Melt the butter and add the flour whisking to combine.  Add the cayenne pepper and cook over medium low heat for about four more minutes, whisking, until the mixture becomes slightly browned.  Add the milk, half and half, and cream and whisk until smooth.  Continue to cook over low heat for about ten more minutes, whisking occasionally to avoid lumps.

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and shred cheese.  I really like the Dubliner, which is an Imported Irish Cheese at about $2.18 lb. Costco offers it at an amazing price and it actually freezes well in vacuum packed smaller portions.  This is a sweet, granular cheese that has been aged over a year.  It has a distinctive rounded flavor and a natural hint of sweetness.  I find it has elements of mature cheddar; sweet nutty tones of a Swiss and the piquant bite of aged Parmesan and most importantly for this dish, it melts beautifully.

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When the sauce has thickened, gently fold in and melt the cheese, beginning with the mascarpone.

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Mix between each kind of cheese until it melts completely before adding the next.

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Once mixed completely, shut off the heat and add the cooked onion.  Stir and add in the cooked pasta; and finally the chopped shell fish.  Set aside.

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Prepare the breadcrumb topping by melting two tablespoons of the butter in a small skillet over medium high heat.  Chop the oregano and parsley

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Add the pressed garlic, lemon zest and chopped oregano, cooking and stirring for about a minute until it becomes very fragrant.

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Stir in bread crumbs and continue to toss until crumbs are toasted and browned a bit.  Spoon the pasta mixture into a baking dish that has been coated with non stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on the top and garnish with the chopped parsley.

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Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes until the pasta is bubbly and the crumbs are browned on top.  Allow to sit for a couple of minutes before digging in to set up!

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We enjoyed this meal paired with a terrific 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon by TARA BELLA.  It was awesome and the mac was so rich and creamy and cheesy, all I served along side of it was a simple green salad!  We shared with Bill’s folks and had plenty of left overs.

Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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