Plated + Served: Lobster Mac and Cheese


Do you shop at big box stores? Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by something you’ve found there? I mean, something truly unexpected and high-quality… 

Mama usually goes to those stores to buy things the fam uses a lot: laundry detergent, paper plates, toilet paper.

But the other day when I was wandering the aisles marveling at things like the jar of 200 Kosher Dills, I came across a frozen half-pound lobster tail. It was Wild Caught, from the Bahamas (so I know how and where it was fished), and beautiful.

I’ve been wanting to make Lobster Mac and Cheese for a while now because every time I’ve ordered it in a restaurant (well, almost every time), I’ve thought to myself, “I know I can do better.”

And I have. Let me know what you think.

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Lobster Mac and Cheese
prep: 20 minutes
cook: 20 minutes
serves: 6 (one-cup serving)

you’ll need…
4 Tablespoons butter, divided
¾ cup breadcrumbs
8 oz. cooked lobster meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ lb. cooked rigatoni, penne or cellentani pasta (slightly undercooked)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped celery
2 Tablespoons garlic, finely minced or pressed
1 Tablespoon finely minced shallots
¼ cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup Gruyère cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt

let’s get to it…
2 Tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir breadcrumbs into melted butter; set aside.
Melt  remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter over medium low heat in a medium sized heavy bottom pan (large enough to hold pasta later). Add celery, garlic and shallots; sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft.
Stir in flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the flour loses its uncooked taste. Increase temperature to medium and, using a whisk, slowly stir in milk and cream and cook until thickened.
Remove sauce from heat and add cheese, ½ cup at a time; whisking constantly. Add the Old Bay Seasoning and salt and whisk until smooth.
Add the pasta to the cheese sauce, stirring gently with a large spoon or rubber spatula to coat the pasta. Stir in the lobster.
Place 6 bowls on a baking sheet and spoon Lobster Mac and Cheese evenly into bowls. Top with prepared breadcrumbs.
Place bowls on baking sheet under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes or until breadcrumbs have browned. Serve immediately.


What is Clarified Butter?


I’ve looked in several stores and I can’t find clarified butter… do they sell it? This recipe says “serve with clarified butter”… what is clarified butter anyway?

To answer your first question, yes stores and markets sell clarified butter. You’ll find it in most specialty stores, like Whole Foods or Gelson’s, and usually on the shelf, not in the refrigerated section like regular butter. But don’t let them give you ghee and tell you it is clarified butter… but I’ll explain that in a bit.

To answer your second question, clarified butter, also known as drawn butter, is unsalted butter that has had the milk solids and water removed from it… so all that is left is the golden yellow butter fat. Clarifying removes the milk solids, which can burn, and the water, which can spatter. I don’t know what you’re preparing, but clarified butter is great for cooking at high temperatures because it has a high smoke point. The downside is that it doesn’t have the rich flavor of butter because all the milk is gone, but it is still more buttery tasting than, say, olive oil, so you’re still good.

But now I have a question for you: why would you even buy clarified butter? If you are preparing a recipe that calls for clarified butter, you must have something going on in the kitchen… so why not make it yourself … it is not that difficult.

One pound of butter makes about 12 ounces of clarified butter, and it will keep in the refrigerator for 6 months. It is perfect for sautéing because food won’t burn or stick. I use it to make butter-based sauces like Hollandaise or Béarnaise and for finishing vegetables . Clarified butter also makes a fabulous dipping sauce for shellfish or fish.

Oh… and back to “ghee.” Technically, ghee is clarified butter… but the butter is cooked longer so the water evaporates and the milk solids are browned in the butterfat and then strained. The taste of ghee is different… it is kind of nutty with more depth. It is used in Indian cuisine, so you may have heard of it or tasted it and not even known what it was.

I hope this clarifies everything. Ahemmm…

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: