As long ago as 2007, Chowhounds were pondering the origins of lobster mac and cheese, a dish that combines elegance and home-style comfort like no other. Is it an adaptation of lobster Newburg? Some uncredited chef’s creation? Nobody knows.
What we do know is that this juxtaposition of just-firm lobster and well-seasoned mac and cheese (graced with two types of cheese, sharp cheddar and Gruyére), under a crispy cap of buttery panko breadcrumbs, is delicious.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), plus more for the baking dish
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk, room temperature
- 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2/3 cup minced fresh chives
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pound cooked lobster meat (from about 2 medium lobsters), coarsely chopped
- 1 pound fusilli pasta, cooked in boiling salted water and drained
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and butter a 3-quart baking dish. Set aside.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon, and cook 1 minute. Pour in the milk, using a whisk to make sure it blends with the onion-flour mixture. Bring to a boil, still over medium-low heat, whisking often. Simmer until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and add both cheeses, whisking until melted. Add the Dijon, chives, cayenne, and 1⁄2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the cooked pasta and lobster. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the panko with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, melted. Season with the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Sprinkle over the casserole and bake until the mac and cheese is bubbling and the crust is crisp and golden brown, about 30 minutes.Let the casserole rest on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before serving.