Winter can be a tough season for many. Its dark and cold, which causes a lot of people to avoid going outdoors, but can also lead to restlessness, grumpiness, and in some cases depression. I, like many of you, I’m sure, have dealt with this before and over the years I have found my own way to combat the winter blues.
I have always enjoyed getting out for a few winter activities, such as hiking, crops country skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, etc. However, I have also found that putting an emphasis on enjoying the little things that this season has to offer can do even more for my mood than even getting outside.
I love that the cold weather is a great excuse to sit by the fire with a good book and a warm beverage or better yet have the oven all day and make an elaborate meal. I have always been a fan of fall and winter food and now is the time to embrace that.
While lobster is one of those things we often associate with summer time, lobster mac and cheese is definitely an any-time of year kind of dish. I especially like to make it on the darkest of winter days because it tends to really brighten up the week. It is a little taste of summer sweetness wrapped in a cocoon of cheesy goodness. I mean what more could you ask for in a dish?
The base of this recipe comes from Ina Garten, but I enhanced it with the addition of sherry. That is a trick I picked up at our nearly annual trips to the ocean. There’s this little shack near a marina that sells some of the best hot lobster rolls, and mac cheese around. Their secret is a ladle of sherry butter sauce over the top of their mac and cheese before serving. I wasn’t able to talk them into giving me their secret recipe, but I think I’ve come pretty close here. It’s a recipe that both Chuck and I adore, so really that’s all that matters.
- 1 lb medium shells or other pasta
- 1 quart whole milk
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flower
- 4 cups grated Gruyere cheese
- 2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 ½ lbs cooked lobster meat, diced
- 2 tablespoons sherry
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions and set aside.
- Heat the milk in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Do not allow it to boil.
- In a large pot melt 6 tablespoons of butter over medium low heat, until it begins to bubble. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir the hot milk into the butter flour mixture and whisk well to combine. The mixture should become smooth and velvety.
- Stir in the cheeses, salt and pepper and remove from heat. Stir gently until the cheese has melted and the mixture again becomes smooth. Add more salt to taste. Stir in the cooked pasta and lobster.
- In a small sauce pan combine 4 tablespoons of butter a pinch of salt and the sherry over medium high heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until the combination is well blended and slightly reduced.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and combine with the breadcrumbs.
- Transfer the pasta, lobster mixture to a baking dish and pour the cherry mixture over the top. Sprinkle with the butter-breadcrumb mixture and place in the over to bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Serve immediately.