Lobster and Shrimp Mac and Cheese is what ditching the diet for a meal is all about. Hunks of succulent lobster, plump shrimp and tender pasta generously coated in a creamy, two-cheese sauce is simply irresistible.
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Summer Comfort Food Splurge
Even though we're in the heart of summer, there are times when I'm ready to give the grill a rest and make some good ol' comfort food. We tend to enjoy lobster more in the summer, which instantly came to mind to kick ordinary mac n' cheese up a few notches. And, why stop there? There's always a bag of Costco shrimp in our freezer so they easily worked their way into the line up.
How to Cook Shellfish
You can go about cooking the lobster and shrimp a gazillion ways before they join the pasta and cheese sauce party. I went the simple route of thawing frozen lobster tails and roasting them in the oven piggyback style.
You can tell I didn't have the best of luck keeping the entire shell intact on a couple of them when extracting the flesh from the split tail shell. But that honestly made no difference in the result anyway. Only 15 minutes in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper led to 145-degree, perfectly cooked lobster.
While the lobster was sizzling away in the oven, I poached large shrimp (21-25 ct) in chicken broth for all of two minutes. Reserving some of the chicken/shrimp broth plays another role later when making the sauce. It's always about consistency and flavah! When chopping you're delectably cooked crustaceans, be sure not to dice. The chunkier the better!
How to Make the Cheese Sauce
We're going full throttle here with a roux and whole milk base to add a solid twelve-ounce blend of fontina and creamy jack cheese to. These cheeses melt silkily smooth, as would gruyere and gouda. I prefer this selection much more than the ever-popular cheddar because of their taste and melting qualities.
The only accents this sauce needs is your taste of salt and pepper, and a special touch of freshly grated nutmeg. You can easily spy these little nuggets alongside the ground version in the spice aisle.
Once you've added some reserved stock to the cheese sauce, the pasta, lobster, and shrimp go in headfirst to bathe in the creamy deliciousness.
Ready to Serve
There's no extra baking required here! Spreading the whole gang in a casserole dish to bake another 20-30 minutes would be a disservice to those already perfectly cooked ingredients. Your time is better spent letting the flavors meld a few minutes in the pan while deciding how big of a plate you need. Enjoy!
More Comfort Food from the Sea to Try
Lobster and Shrimp Mac and Cheese
- 12 ounces fusilli or rotini pasta
- 4 frozen lobster tails*, thawed (about 1 ½ lbs frozen)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- ½ lb large raw shrimp, about 12, peeled, deveined, tails removed
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 8 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
- 4 ounces creamy jack, gouda or gruyere cheese, freshly grated
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Chives for garnish
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot, add pasta and cook 1 minute less than instructed on the box. Drain and return to pot. Stir in a little olive oil to keep pasta from sticking. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F. Pull lobster tails out of shells leaving the tab at the end intact, and lay the tail on top of the shell piggyback style. Drizzle each tail with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 12-15 minutes until an instant-read thermometer registers 140-145°F. Let cool.
- While pasta is cooking and lobster tails are roasting, bring stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add shrimp, cover completely and remove from heat. Poach shrimp 2 minutes until just opaque in the center.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm. Reserve ½ cup of stock to thin sauce as needed.
- When lobster and shrimp are cool enough to handle, chop into chunks. Set aside in a medium bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Pour milk into a small saucepan to get warm, but do not let it boil. Melt butter in a 5-quart, high-rimmed saucepan or heavy large pot over medium heat. Add flour and cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in the hot milk in a steady stream. Cook mixture 2 more minutes until bubbly and thickened, stirring frequently.
- Turn heat to low and add the cheeses. Stir until melted and smooth. Sauce will be thick at this point. Stir in reserved stock 1-2 tablespoons at a time until desired cream sauce consistency. Add nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste.
- Fold the cooked pasta, lobster and shrimp into the cheese sauce. Let mixture warm and flavors meld for a few minutes while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and transfer to serving bowl. Garnish with chives. Enjoy.
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