My friend Valarie had mentioned to me a few rimes that her favorite restaurant in Key West, Bagatelle, had the best lobster mac and cheese she had ever eaten. So when her birthday came around recently, I vowed to get the recipe and make it for her. I did feel like it needed more seafood, (because I just can’t help myself), so I added the pound of scallops for good measure.
Not sure exactly how it stacked up to Bagatelle’s, but it was a really tasty dish. Definitely, as my daughter says, “A plate-licker.”
1 pound good quality short pasta (I used small shells)
2 cups Gruyere
1 1/2 cups white cheddar
1/2 cup Havarti
6 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus another 3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
Several splashes of Tabasco or Sriracha, to taste
Meat from the claws and tails of two lobsters, steamed
1 pound of scallops, seared in a tablespoon of butter and cut into quarters
3 slices of good quality bread for bread crumbs
Grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper
Grate the cheeses and set them aside.
Melt the butter in a large pan over low heat, and stir in the flour to make a roux. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until everything is absorbed and the white sauce is beginning to thicken. Stir in the grated cheese and the cream cheese. Whisk until smooth.
Toast the bread, break it into tiny pieces, saute in 2 tablespoons of melted butter with a little salt, and set aside.
Cook the pasta in boiling water, but for two minutes shorter than your package tells you.
Cut the lobster meat into bite-size chunks, and mix it with the pasta into the cheese mixture.
Pour this into a well-greased 9 x 13“ pan.
Top with the buttered breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Bake at 350 for half an hour until everything is piping hot and the top is starting to brown.
Invite some of your favorite people over and serve with a highly acidic wine like a Sancerre or an Albarino. Happy Birthday, Val!