Mac n Cheese has not always been a part of my life. Growing up, my mom bought the pre-boxed powdered sauce (reconstitute with butter and milk or water) and my kids grew up with the Velveeta brand Mac, creamy unknown cheese sauce in a pouch.
My childhood version seldom had anything mixed in with the noodles and cheese sauce mixture, it was more of a side item on a plate next to a meat or sandwich, if served at lunch. My children would only eat their Mac n Cheese with a can of tuna fish in water (water drained). That mixture was a weekly lunch dish that stood on its own in a big bowl. They fought over who would get the coveted last morsel bite. It became a childhood comfort food for them. Mac n Cheese morphed into an upscale version at dinner time; fontina or corkscrew pasta with tuna, capers, kalamata olives, feta cheese crumbles, tomato and cucumber all bathed in a generous amount of Greek salad dressing and served cold, not hot.
A few years ago I met and fell into the deep chasm of uncharted love with a man from upstate New York. He loves his Mac n Cheese. His memories of the dish from childhood often send chills up his back as he recalls his mom’s version to be a mass of overcooked pasta that had more butter than cheese in the sauce. He vowed to tweak the recipe and make his own version, Al dente’ corkscrew pasta or other slightly curved pasta that would withstand small chunks of melted New York cheddar within its crannies. Below is his newest version, adapted to what he is served when he is brave enough to order it in a restaurant. Of course this version is upscale with fresh lobster and should be served as a dinner accompanied with a side salad and a baguette slathered with fresh garlic and butter and lightly toasted.
Lobster Mac n Cheese
Serves 2 with some left overs, may serve 4 with people wanting the last crumb!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9×12 glass dish and set aside.
Boil 1 package of the best dried pasta you can buy to an Al Dente’ or slightly underdone bite when tested. Depending on the type of pasta you choose depends on the cook time. Watch pasta carefully because when baked it should not turn mushy.
Prepare fresh lobster, chopping meat into chunks. We have tried frozen lobster tail in this recipe but I will suggest you to purchase a live lobster and have it steamed at the store. Once home, remove edible meat from claws and tail, discard shell.
Brown a package of premium bacon, diced once cooked to a soft- crispy texture.
1- 2 (8oz) packages of a favorite cheese. We enjoy sharp or extra sharp cheddar, feel free to play around with the cheese you use. Dice cheese into smallish chunks. Set aside.
1 or 2 jalapeno or other hot pepper, chopped, with seeds if you want it to be spicy. If you want a mild spice, remove seeds and veins from the peppers before chopping. Add to the cheese chunks.
Once pasta is cooked to the desired bite consistency, drain and return to the warm pot. Add all of the above ingredients and mix gently until all ingredients are incorporated on and into the pasta crevasses. Pour this mixture into the 9×12 glass dish and dot the top of the pasta with a few pats of salted butter to your desire. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tips of the pasta are starting to brown. We enjoy some pasta to be crunchy so we tend to allow it time to brown a bit. Serve immediately, before the cheese starts to cool. Although just as good to eat at room temperature, this dish is best served hot.