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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Taste The Love

Lobster Mac & Cheese

2016-10-13-17-48-42

I’m pretty confident in saying, Mac and Cheese is the favorite comfort food for people of all ages. There are so many recipes out there from the classic version to endless variations of the classic. Chorizo and smoked Gouda, or how about butternut squash mac and cheese! The one I like to serve when entertaining is my Lobster Mac And Cheese. The lobster adds a delicate sweetness along with a variety of delicious cheeses and a flavorful crunchy topping complete the perfect recipe for Lobster Mac & Cheese.

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Tarragon

Tarragon

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Chives (2)

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Prep Time: 1 hour (the time it takes to cook the lobsters for the casserole)
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: 16-quart stockpot, 2 6-quart saucepots, 9 x 13 casserole dish, 2 large mixing bowls, colander, Microplane

Ingredients:
4 cups of lobster meat, large dice (equivalent to approx. three 1 1/2 lb lobsters)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted, (4 tablespoons for greasing the baking dish)
4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
4 cups of whole milk, *scalded
1 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of corn (optional)
1 cup of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of Brie cheese, without the rind, diced
2 cups of Fontina cheese, freshly grated (reserve 1 cup for the top)
1/2 cup of Sargento Parmesan cheese, shredded
3 tablespoon of fresh chives, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of tarragon leaves, chopped
2 (16-ounce) packages (2 pounds) of cooked Paccheri Rigati, just under al-dente ( large rigatoni shaped pasta, substitute rigatoni)

Topping:
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups of Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated

Notes:
Note: For a 1 1/2 pound lobster, cook time is 15 to 20 minutes.
Note: They need to be a vibrant red color when fully cooked.
Note: I prefer to cook lobsters one at a time.

Directions:
Start by buttering a casserole dish.

Directions, How To Cook A Lobster:
Bring a 16-quart pot (a little over half filled) of well-salted water up to a rapid boil. Drop the lobster into the pot, quickly place the lid on. Using a towel, hold the lid in place for just a minute, giving the water a chance to come back up to a boil,  then start the cooking time. After about 15 to 20 minutes, remove the lobster from the pot and set aside to cool. Repeat this process two more times.

Boil 16 ounces (1 pound) of pasta just before the al dente stage, about 8 to 10 minutes, and drain. The pasta will finish cooking during the baking process.

Remove the lobster meat from the tails and claws. Chop the lobster meat into large chunks and place into a bowl.

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
In a large saucepot melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Continuously whisking the flour and butter to form a *roux. Cook, whisking constantly until the mixture becomes blond in color and paste-like, about 2 minutes. Again continue whisking while slowly adding the (*scalded) hot milk. Continue to whisk as the sauce thickens. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Sprinkle in the grated nutmeg, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, continuously whisking until sauce becomes thick and smooth. Remove from the heat, switch to a wooden spoon, stir in the chopped tarragon, finely chopped chives, grated cheeses, and corn (optional). Last, add the cooked lobster meat. Mix to combined.

Add the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce stirring gently not to break up the pasta. Pour the entire mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle the reserved Fontina cheese evenly over the top.

For the crumb topping, add the melted butter to the Panko bread crumbs. Mix in the Italian flat-leaf parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Allow the casserole to rest for 15 minutes before serving. This is my Lobster Mac & Cheese.

*Roux is a mixture of fat (especially butter) and flour used in making sauces

*Scalded milk is milk heated to a near boil. Small bubbles will appear around the inner rim of the pot.

How To Cook and Open A Lobster

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3 Comments »

Mussels Oreganata

 

2013-10-16-15-47-09

I’m originally from New Jersey. We grew up eating a lot of black mussels. So when I found these PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussels I knew they would be perfect to use in my Mussels Oreganata. 

First, I need to clip a few fresh herbs from my Organic Hanging Herb Garden. This recipe is super easy to make and a great first course if you serving pasta. This is my Mussels Oreganata.

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Oregano

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 4 servings (6 per person)
Equipment: 6-quart saucepot, 1 large stockpot with a tight-fitting lid,2 rimmed baking sheet pans, spider

Ingredients:
24 PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussels, beards removed and cleaned
3 1/2 cups Chardonnay
6 garlic cloves, 3 smashed, 3 grated
2 tablespoons shallots, finely minced
1 tablespoon of Pernod
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs, seasoned
3/4 cup *E.V.O.O., plus extra for drizzling over top
4 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges for garnish
Fresh oregano sprigs for garnish

Directions:
Preheat broiler.
First, fill a sink with very cold water. Add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, swish the water around with your hands. Place the mussels into the sink. Mussels act like filters and will drink in the flour/water mixture and spit it back out along with any sand they may be holding.

Note: Discard any mussels that are open and/or cracked, they’re no longer alive.

Using a stiff brush, scrub the shells to remove any barnacles or debris that may be attached to the outside of the mussel. Grasp the beard, the fibrous clump, and pull out swiftly towards the hinged end. Rinse thoroughly, transfer cleaned mussels to a large saucepot, set aside.

In a large stockpot, over high heat add 3 smashed garlic cloves and the Chardonnay. Bring to a boil.

Next, add the mussels and cover. Steam for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they’ve all opened. Using a spider (a large slotted ladle) discard any unopened mussels. Those are no good.

Remove the top shell from each one of the mussels (yielding 24 mussels on the half-shell). Arrange the half-shells in a single layer (12 on each pan) onto  2 rimmed baking sheet pans, lined with foil.

In a large mixing bowl, add breadcrumbs, Pernod, olive oil, oregano, mint, basil, parsley, grated garlic, minced shallot, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine.

Top each of the mussels with the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle each one with *E.V.O.O. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

To Serve: Arrange 6 Mussels Oreganata on each serving plate. Garnish with lemon wedges and a sprig of fresh oregano.

*E.V.O.O. is an acronym for extra virgin olive oil.

My Organic Hanging Herb Garden

1 Comment »

Parsley Potatoes

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This is the easiest and fastest potato dish you’ll ever serve. I use baby red and white potatoes for this recipe. Steve caught some beautiful fish today and I’m making Parsley Potatoes as the side dish.

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This is the easiest and fastest potato dish you’ll ever serve. I use baby red and white potatoes for this recipe. Steve caught some beautiful fish today and I’m making Parsley Potatoes as the side dish.

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Cook Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven with lid

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of butter, unsalted
2 1/2 pounds small Yukon gold and red small potatoes, scrubbed not peeled
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Directions:
In a heavy bottom Dutch oven, add olive oil the butter and melt. Add the diced onions and whole potatoes, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender, tested with a small knife.

Occasionally (every 10 minutes or so), shake the pot without removing the lid to prevent the potatoes from burning.

Turn off the heat and allow the potatoes to steam for another 5 minutes. Do not overcook. Toss with parsley and serve hot. Parsley Potatoes ready to enjoy.

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