Classic American comfort food gets an elegant makeover – adding lobster to macaroni cheese gives a gorgeous sweetness that works wonderfully with the strong flavours of Gruyère, Cheddar and Parmesan. This warming macaroni cheese recipe is easy to follow and perfect for weekend feasting.
- Remove the lobsters claws by twisting them off the body, crack with a nutcracker or a small hammer to break the shell and remove the flesh. Arch the back of the lobster until it cracks to remove the tail, bend flat and break off the shell to extract the meat. Discard the dark stomach sack and use a pick or skewer to extract the meat from the legs. Repeat with the second lobster. (Reserve the tail and leg shells from both lobsters.) Chop all the lobster meat and set aside in the fridge until needed.
- Put the onion halves, bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns into a medium pan with the shells from the lobster tail and the cracked legs. Pour in the milk and bring up to the boil, then turn off the heat and leave to cool and infuse for 20 minutes, then strain into a jug, discarding the shells and seasonings.
- Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water following the packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C.
- Wipe out the pan and add the butter, cayenne pepper and mustard powder. Put over a medium heat and once the butter has melted, add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until a paste forms. Continue cooking for 1 minute, stirring all the time. Pour in a little of the infused milk and whisk to a smooth sauce. Slowly add the remaining milk, stir continuously, then add the sherry, vermouth or wine. Bring to a simmer, stirring all the time. Once bubbling, cook for 2-3 minutes, until you have a thick, smooth lump-free sauce. Add two-thirds of the cheeses and half the chopped herbs, stir until melted and combined, then add the nutmeg and season to taste. Mix the remaining cheeses with the rest of the chopped herbs, breadcrumbs, garlic seasoning and some black pepper.
- Tip the drained pasta into the cheese sauce. Mix well, adding the lobster meat and stirring to combine. Tip into an ovenproof dish and scatter with the herb and cheese crumbs. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until bubbling, golden and crunchy on top. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Tip: Having a dinner party? For a more special presentation idea, serve these in individual gratin dishes, reduce the cooking time in the oven – they will only take about 10-12 minutes.
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