MT and I both commented about how good that mac and cheese side-dish was that night. It made me think about whether I could do a dish like that justice. I turned to Pinterest (where else?) to look for recipes. There were plenty of options. I finally picked this recipe to try out.
Of course I made a couple of modifications. The recipe calls for four cups of Gruyere cheese. I opted to split that four cups between Gruyere and fontina cheese. Here's what I learned this week: Gruyere and fontina is quite a bit more expensive than your run-of-the-mill cheddar cheese from Kraft or Sargento or whatever. The thing is that I hadn't tried Gruyere or fontina by themselves, so I wasn't really sure what they would taste like. Then, I got a bit confused about the measurements of the cheese and I ended up buying more than I need. (Note to self - look up whether you can freeze cheese.) If you are wondering, I found the Gruyere to be a bit salty and dry. The fontina is creamy and smooth. Together, they tasted pretty magical.
I made the roux, added the milk (I used 1% milk because that's what we have in the fridge) and stirred and stirred until I had a nice thick mixture. I took the pan off the fire and added the cheese about a cup at a time until it was thick and cheesy and creamy and amazing. That's when I added the lobster and the pasta. I stirred it all together along with some seasonings. I think it would have been just fine to to eat at this point.
It would have been fine, but not spectacular. I put it all in a big dish, sprinkled toasted panko bread crumbs over it and popped it in the oven.
We had to wait for a few minutes for the cheeses to stop bubbling and for everything to settle together.
How did it taste?
The man who doesn't really like mac and cheese thought it tasted "pretty damn good." That's high praise from MT who usually says things like, "That wasn't bad" or "I wouldn't be afraid to have that again."
I think that it would have benefited from a little spice, a little heat. The side dish we had at the restaurant had a little hint of heat at the back of the throat, maybe jalapeno or cayenne. I added a bit of hot sauce to my serving. The hot sauce ramped up the flavor and accentuated the lobster and the creaminess of the cheese sauce. Very pleasing.
The recipe made a LOT of mac and cheese. MT and T were on their way out to see a movie (The Hateful Eight) so they only had one helping and we have plenty leftover. I think I'll freeze half of it for another time. I've done that before with mac and cheese and it worked out just fine.
Meanwhile, like I said, I have Gruyere and fontina left, so I will be making more mac and cheese sometime. I don't know that I will add lobster to that batch, though. By the way, I just Googled whether or not cheese can be frozen and the answer is...YES! I think I'll go ahead a shred it with my trusty food processor and put it in a freezer bag for future mac and cheese making. Genius.
I'm looking forward to trying lots of new recipes this year. Want to know something else I'm doing that is pretty fun? I bought myself a cheap little weekly calendar and I'm writing down what we have for dinner every night. I think it will be helpful to remember new things that we try that we would like to eat again. And, I like to make lists :)
And you know something else that is pretty awesome? Tonight is only Saturday. I still have one more day off!