Monday, October 17, 2011

National Pasta Day

Who knew?  Today is National Pasta Day.  Being half-Italian, I do not need a special day to eat pasta.  I even make my own noodles and ravioli when I am feeling especially ambitious.

In honor of the day, I am sharing a recipe for Lobster Macaroni and Cheese.   Be forewarned, this is an expensive dish to make.  Substitutions of anything will change the taste dramatically.  Unless you are serving it as the main course, you can get more than 8 servings.  And even at that, it is so rich, you likely do not want to eat that much at one time.

So, get your family together, or some friends you really like, and whip up a scrumptious meal.

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 8-10

8 ounces penne or other tube-shaped pasta
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups milk
4 Tbsp unsalted butter + 6 Tbsp flour or  equal parts by weight (recommended)
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or less if you don't want the kick)
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups grated Gruyere (use good quality!)
10 ounces garlic and herb Boursin cheese
2 cups cooked lobster meat, chopped

1 cup Panko bread crumbs (found in Japanese section of grocery store)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Method:
Preheat oven to 350. 
Bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt and cook pasta @ a rolling boil until almost tender.  Drain and rinse in cold water.  Set aside in a large bowl.

Bring the milk to just a boil in a heavy bottom saucepan.  While the milk is heating, melt the butter in another pan, whisk in the flour.  Continue whisking for three minutes over low heat.  Do not brown.  Remove from heat.

Add the hot milk to the flour and butter mixture and whisk thoroughly.  It should be smooth.  Remove from heat and add seasonings and Boursin cheese and keep whisking until the mixture thickens (place on low heat if necessary).  It should coat the back of a spoon.  Pour over the pasta, stir in the lobster meat and toss to coat completely.

Grease a 13x9 baking dish and fill it evenly with the pasta and sauce.  Sprinkle the grated gruyere evenly over the pasta; add a dash of salt and pepper.  Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes. 

Bread Crumb hat. 
Mix 1 cup Panko bread crumbs  with 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese.  Top casserole 5 minutes before end of baking time to allow bread crumb hat to become golden brown. 

Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes to set.  Serve.  Enjoy.  Take a nap.

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