Do you have a celebration restaurant? You know, where you go to celebrate birthdays or big milestones? We have a spot downtown where we go to celebrate. I guess it would fall under the category of upscale dining, which we don’t have a ton of in our little city. I think the fact that it is a fancy restaurant makes it all the more special.
Our spot has awesome appetizers and drinks. But when it comes to the main course, steaks are kind of the thing to get there. I’m not really a steak person. So more often than not I order their lobster macaroni and cheese. I’ll admit, this does sound like a kid menu choice for a fancy restaurant. But judge not, because it is awesome! We are big fans of baked macaroni around our house, so I figured I’d start working on my own version of this celebration meal. I added crackers shaped like lobsters. It just felt right.
For the lobster crackers I used my usual cheese cracker recipe and added (a lot of) red food coloring. I got a lobster cookie cutter here. You can totally make these a day or two ahead and just store in an airtight container until you make the mac and cheese.
8 oz. uncooked macaroni noodles
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 cups milk
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
8 oz (imitation) lobster meat
First, cook the noodles in boiling salted water until al dente, meaning they are still a little uncooked in the centers. Drain and set aside.
In a large, pot melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and mustard, so a smooth paste forms (this is called a roux). Season with cayenne, salt and pepper and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly. Now, stir in the milk, onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring so the roux infuses with the milk. Now stir in 2/3 of the cheese (reserving the rest for the tops before baking). Last, stir in the cooked noodles and lobster meat and stir so everything gets coated.
Pour mixture into your baking dish(es). The mixture should be quite soupy. It will become more solid as it bakes. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese, then the bread crumbs. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Add the crackers to the tops during the last 2-3 minutes of baking, so they can get warm and crispy again before serving.
And yes, I agree, the lobster crackers are pretty funny. Just try serving this without getting your guests to crack a smile. Food that is both delicious and fun is a total win in my book. Enjoy! xo. Emma
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman