|Lobstah mac and cheese|
When I lived in the South, this thought seemed completely absurd. I mean, when it was still a gallion degrees outside and flip flops were perfectly comfortable and acceptable all the way through October, Labor Day seemed practically like a summer midpoint -- or maybe a two-thirds point.
But this is Vermont. And northern Vermont at that.
So, despite the unusually hot and humid weather we had over the long weekend and my sporting a snazzy white skort, it really does feel like it's over. There are already some leaves starting to turn on the trees in our yard, apples are beginning to show up at the farmers markets and everything except the collards looks pathetic in what's left of my garden.
Therefore, what better way to give summer a final huzzah! than a decadent, big bang meal -- a big FAT meal that, based solely on the volume of cheese and butter, needs to be reserved for special huzzah-inducing occasions -- celebrating one of the best foods of a New England summer.
Enter lobstah mac and cheese.
My friend Liz made a passing comment on Facebook that she had eaten lobster mac and cheese and for the rest of the week I was completely obsessed with the idea of it. I found a whole variety of recipes online, all of which sounded good (and none of which was light or healthy, mind you), but I decided to go with the one that was the cheesiest and easiest. Who doesn't love cheesy and easy? (Hmmmm...take that in the spirit in which it was intended, please.)
Thank you, Barefoot Contessa. Decadent doesn't even begin to describe the cheesy goodness. And it truly was easy to prepare. Can you boil water and shell a lobster? You're in!
In Mr. Ninj's vernacular, this one's a keeper. Or, I should say, a keepah.
Lobstah Mac and Cheese from Ina Garten, via the Food Network
Note: Below is my ever-so-slightly adapted, half-sized version of the recipe above, and it still made four hearty servings
8 oz. cavatappi or other curly-ish pasta 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
8-10 oz. cooked lobster meat (or whatever your yield is from 2 lobsters)
3/4 cup white bread crumbs (about 3 slices, pulsed in a food processor)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package directions, less 1-2 minutes to maintain firmness.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, being careful not to boil it. In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Whisk in the hot milk and cook for another minute or two, until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat, add the cheeses, pepper, nutmeg and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the cooked macaroni and lobster and stir well. Place the mixture into a 2-quart casserole.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoons of butter, combine with the bread crumbs and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the pasta is browned on top.