When I lived in Coos Bay Oregon I volunteered one day a week at the Crossroads Café, a not for profit restaurant providing low cost meals for the public. We would serve the homeless, pensioners, families, doctors, lawyers, anyone wanting a hot meal. My favorite dish had to be mac and cheese, which I would add onions and peppers to a 3 cheese blend creamy pasta. I had many people compliment me on my version, even once a pair of chefs passing through said they thought it was the best they ever had and could only be made better with some fresh lobster. At $1.50 a plate including a drink, I'm afraid lobster wasn't on the menu, but you can add it if you want. With July 4th fast approaching this will be my offering. I like to top mine with a mixture of crushed Ritz crackers, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses browned to perfection. Just for fun I will add lobster and balance the flavors so I can taste our expensive ingredient.
2 pounds pasta (I like Cavatappi or corkscrew)
2 pounds cooked lobster meat diced
1 onion diced
1 red pepper diced
1 poblano pepper diced
4 ounces butter
4 Tbsp. flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 cup shredded white Cheddar Cheese
2 cups cubed Velveeta
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup shredded white Cheddar Cheese
crushed Ritz crackers or Panko bread crumbs
1. Heat a large pot of water and add enough salt so the water taste salty like the ocean. Add the pasta to the boiling salted water and cook until almost done, about 80% done. We want the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce to absorb the flavor. If you wish you can cool the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking if the sauce will be done later.
2. Melt the 3 Tbsp. of the butter in a large sauce pan on medium heat and add the diced onions and papers and cook until the onions become translucent. Turn up the heat to medium high and whisk in the flour to create a roux. Add the dry mustard, nutmeg, thyme then slowly whisk in the milk and or half and half until the mixture has a soupy consistency. Gradually add the grated cheeses slowly so they melt evenly and slowly. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Spray a oven safe dish with cooking spray or butter and add the pasta then the cheese sauce. Top with the diced cooked lobster. The mixture should be soupy so stir in cream to make the right consistency. Mix the topping ingredients minus the parmesan cheese and cover the mixture. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top. Bake in a 350 oven for 30 to 40 minutes and let cool a bit before serving.
Past Posts (click to select)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
How does a good chef think? What is the creative process a
chef uses to come up with new and exciting dishes? What do I need to know to enable that creative process? These are the questions I want to explore in this series of articles. As a chef and an avid cookbook collector I am drawn towards
ideas and techniques of cooking rather than just a collection of recipes. I believe to grow as a chef, I need to continually learn and hone new techniques along with perfecting each technique I use every day. Whenever I go to a restaurant, whether fine dining, neighborhood pub, avant garde, or even fast food, I continually ask myself how can I do this better, what works and more important, what doesn’t? Feel free to send me comments, ask questions. Together, we can explore and make creative cuisine.
Spending almost thirty years in the computing field, I was able to travel experiencing a wide variety of tremendous cuisine. First I became a foodie, and when the opportunity arose, I was able to attend culinary school following my passion. I work as a part-time private chef and volunteer time at the community café in North Bend Oregon providing affordable meals in a restaurant setting to my community.