Monday, March 12, 2012
We spent a week last fall on Martha's Vineyard - just the three of us. It was a fabulous relaxing week. We enjoyed a lot of local seafood, but one of the most memorable for my husband was the lobster mac 'n' cheese he had at the Newes Pub in Edgartown. It was creamy and cheesy with big chunks of lobster. So, when we got home, I had to give it a shot.
For my first attempt, I looked for a recipe but decided to stick with my trusted mac'n'cheese and just add some chunks of lobster. It was good, but not great. I recently tried again and this time drizzled it with a little white truffle oil and topped it not only with fresh bread crumbs, but also some crispy pancetta. Voila! It was a hit. The truffle oil gave it another level of richness and a little luxuriousness and the pancetta gave it a salty bite. Perfect-o!
I like to steam my own lobsters. When making it for mac'n'cheese, I cook them a minute less than I would if we were just eating them steamed. The lobster will cook a little more while the mac'n'cheese bakes. You can also do the lobsters a day ahead, just shell them and reserve the meat. And don't forget the juicy bits in the legs... Roll over each with a rolling pin and you'll be surprised how much meat squeezes out!
Truffled Lobster Mac 'n' Cheese with Crispy Pancetta
Meat from 2 1-1/2 pound lobsters, torn into 1-inch chunks
3 oz. pancetta, cubed
4 slices white bread, cubed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk, preferably whole
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
12 oz. medium shells, cooked to al dente
White truffle oil, optional
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a frying pan, brown the pancetta until crisp then drain on paper towels. Set aside.
Drain excess grease then add olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the pan. And the bread cubes and cook until golden. Remove from pan and set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the garlic and mustard and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking until a paste is formed. Stir in the milk and increase heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stair in both cheeses.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, cheese sauce and reserved lobster. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle with the bread cubes and pancetta.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. To serve, scoop mac 'n' cheese into large bowls and drizzle with white truffle oil.