Ready in under an hour, this baked lobster mac and cheese is perfect for a date night in or an indulgent weeknight dinner.
Baked Lobster Mac and Cheese
Here we sit. Straddling the edges of winter’s crustyiness and the cheery hopefulness that this past weekend’s gorgeousness delivered.
This weekend was a blink of spring that had all of us who’ve been shuttered inside heading to the great outdoors to stretch our legs, breathe in deep and realize that summer is just one hopscotch jump away.
But, there’s still a bit of cozy comfort food I’m craving, that I’ve yet to have my wintertime fill of. I’m not quite ready to put away my braisers, or break out the grill. Yet.
Which leaves plenty of room for a thoroughly decadent dinner. Comfort food with a swath of luxury. Lobster Mac and Cheese. It’s what’s on this girl’s menu.
Lobster, shrimp, scallops, crab. Give me a shellfish paired with pasta and you’ve just made me a very camper.
Pair it with a creamy sauce and cheese and you’ve just sent me to the moon. A very lush moon. Where I smile a lot in between savory, happy bites of cheese drenched macaroni.
The mention of lobster shouldn’t put you in a tailspin with dollar signs replacing the corneas of your beautiful baby blues. With this dish, just one large lobster tail—or 2 small ones—will do the trick for the entire feast.
So that when you tell guests you’re having lobster for dinner, they think you’ve really gone all out.
When really, you’ve only gone half out.
What’s in This Lobster Mac and Cheese?
This homemade baked mac and cheese has three parts: the pasta itself, the cheesy sauce it’s coated in, and the crisp breadcrumb topping that’s sprinkled on top. Here’s what you’ll need to make this lobster mac and cheese recipe:
- All-purpose flour
- Cayenne pepper
- Whole milk
- Shredded cheeses
- Mascarpone cheese
- Fresh breadcrumbs
- Lemon zest
- Cooked lobster meat
- Fresh parsley
How to Make Lobster Mac and Cheese
First, get the pasta cooking in some well salted water. Then, prep the cheese sauce. The cheese sauce starts with a roux (a mixture of butter and flour), which is loosened up with a bit of milk. Three types of cheese are then incorporated into the sauce to create a silky smooth mixture you’ll want to eat by the spoonful.
While the cheese sauce is bubbling away, toast up the breadcrumb topping.
Then, it’s just a matter of mixing together the cooked pasta, cheese sauce, and lobster. Turn the mac and cheese into a baking dish and top with the breadcrumb mixture just before baking.
What’s the Best Cheese for Mac and Cheese?
While gruyere is commonly paired with Lobster Mac and Cheese, I wanted to create a lighter, more silky sauce so I chose a meltable fontina with creamy Mascarpone (an Italian style cream cheese) with an edge of super sharp cheddar.
Other cheeses that would be good alternatives to fontina or gruyere are gouda, havarti and monterey jack. Just make them melty and make them good. I usually save mozzarella for my pizza or lasagna since it can become a tad stringy.
How to Reheat Mac and Cheese
If you wind up with leftovers of this seafood mac and cheese, I recommend reheating it on the stove over low heat. You may want to add a splash of milk to prevent the pasta from drying out. You can also reheat this lobster mac and cheese in the oven, although you may want to cover it with foil to seal in some moisture.
Tips for Making Lobster Mac and Cheese
There are three things you want to be sure to do with this seafood mac and cheese recipe.
1. Don’t overcook your lobster meat. Some stores carry it already cooked (Whole Foods sometimes offers it in their seafood section), but if you cook your own, steam it whole in the shell for about 7 minutes. That’s really all you need. Any longer and you’ll have a tough little crustacean.
2. Salt the pasta water. You want the pasta itself to have some flavor before mixing it into the cheese sauce.
3. The final secret to this sauce is a dose of cayenne pepper. I add it right to the butter and flour roux and cook it into the mix as the flour browns. It adds a depth and almost a sweetness you’ll really love.
More Comforting Mac and Cheese Recipes
- Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni
- Skillet Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- The Best Homemade Mac and Cheese
- Obsessed with Cheese Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Fried Mac and Cheese Balls
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Lobster Mac and Cheese
For the cheese sauce:
- 6 tablespoons butter , divided
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 ½ cups whole milk
- 3 cups fontina cheese , shredded
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese , shredded
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
For the breadcrumb topping:
- 1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Kosher salt
- 1 clove garlic , pressed or minced
- 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest
For everything else:
- 1 pound pasta (I used conchiglie, but you could use elbows, shells or capatappi)
- 1 pound cooked lobster meat , cut into bite size chunks
- parsley , choppe (for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook the pasta to package directions in salted water, make sure the noodles are al dente. Drain and set aside.
Make the cheese sauce:
- While pasta is cooking, prepare the cheese sauce. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the flour and whisk to combine. Add the cayenne pepper and cook over medium-low heat for about 3-4 minutes, whisking, until the flour mixture becomes light brown in color.
- Add the milk while whisking and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens, whisking often.
- Lower the heat to and cook for about 10 minutes, whisking occasionally.
Make the breadcrumb topping:
- While cheese sauce is cooking, prepare the breadcrumb topping. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small fry pan over medium high heat.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add the breadcrumbs and raise the heat to high and toast for about 1 minute before stirring. Continue until the bread crumbs become toasty.
- Stir in the lemon zest and season with kosher salt and remove from heat to cool.
Assemble the mac and cheese:
- Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and stir in the mascarpone until melted. Add the fontina and cheddar cheese and stir to melt. If the cheese isn't melting, turn the burner on low and heat until the cheese melts and becomes smooth with the sauce.
- Add the drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine, getting the cheese in all of the nooks and crannys of the pasta. Gently fold in the lobster meat.
- Spoon the pasta into a 9x13-inch baking dish (or 6 to 8 2-cup gratin dishes). Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top of the pasta and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the pasta is bubbly and lightly browned on top.
More Easy Seafood Pasta Recipes to Make
- Shrimp Scampi Pasta
- Blackened Seafood Pasta
- Linguine con Vongole (Linguine with Clam Sauce)
- Classic Shrimp Macaroni Salad
- Creamy Pasta with Salmon and Asparagus
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