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If you ever have thought that shellfish and cheese don’t make a great combination – try this. Because it is so good
- 1 lb medium shell pasta, cooked al dente
- 1⁄2-3⁄4 lb lobster meat, chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1⁄2 cups milk
- 1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1⁄2 cup grated monterey jack cheese
- 1⁄2 cup cubed provolone cheese
- 1⁄4 cup grated smoked gouda cheese
- 1⁄4 cup grated coarsely parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- cook the pasta according to package directions, to al dente. The choice of pasta shape is important (and of all the different ones I’ve tried I like medium shells best for the dish for two reasons: They hold lots of the creamy cheese sauce and lobster bits nicely and while ridged on the outside, they maintain their shape throughout the stirring and mixing without sticking to or piling up on each other.).
- While cooking one pound al dente, begin making the cheese sauce.
- The cheese sauce starts with a standard white sauce: Melt the butter in a large sauce pan, add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring continuously for a few minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk, bringing to a simmer and continually whisking until it becomes fairly thick. It doesn’t have to be very heavy or thick because the cheese will tighten it right up.
- It is very important to grate some fresh nutmeg into the sauce – just a few swipes should be sufficient. I use what is actually a Chinese ginger grater for my nutmeg – and it makes the grains just the right size!
- Begin to add the cheese, adding about a 1/4 cup at a time and mixing thoroughly until each addition is melted. It’s amazing what a difference a smoked cheese makes here – something about the combination with the lobster flavor is exactly right. It could overpower though, so only make it about 1/4 of the total amount of cheese you use. For this I used a smoked mozzarella.
- If it is too thick for your liking, add more milk slowly, whisking briskly. If too thin, just gradually add more grated cheese, trying to maintain a balance of flavors.
- When the cheese sauce is made, add the lobster meat and then correct for salt and pepper. Gently fold in the pasta, check again for salt and pepper and serve immediately.