Nova Scotia Lobster Mac and Cheese
2 2lb Nova Scotia lobsters
9 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, chopped (approx cup)
1 Bay leaf
6 Tbsp. flour
½ tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup heavy cream (18%)
1 cup light cream (10%)
1 cup aged Cheddar, grated
1 cup strong cheese like Gruyère, grated
2 tsp hot sauce and/or chipotle powder to taste
Gnocchi pasta shells (450-500g)
Cook lobsters in a pot of boiling salted water. Use a large stockpot and fill about a third of it with water. Add salt until it tastes like you swallowed a gulp of the ocean when diving into a wave at the beach. Bring water to boil and drop live lobsters in (remove rubber bands from claws), boil for 10 minutes. Remove lobsters and reserve the liquid (it’s going to look like swamp water).
Work over a bowl and dismantle lobsters- crack and open tails & claws- remove meat. Catch all liquid in bowl along with bodies. Transfer lobster meat to another bowl and keep refrigerated. Take the bodies and all remaining shells, rinse them and cut into small pieces with kitchen shears about 2-3 inches. Keep shells and juices handy in a bowl.
Make bisque/broth. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion & bay leaf. Cook until onion softens, about 3 minutes. Add shells & juices and stir for about 2 minutes. Add 4 cups of the swamp water, boil for about 20 minutes. Strain this liquid into a smaller saucepan- discard leftover shells and other stuff. Reduce this liquid to 2 cups.
Make roux. Melt 6 Tbsp. of butter in original pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add lobster broth, mustard, cloves and a little chipotle powder, if desired. Whisk in all cream, bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Add all cheese and hot sauce. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
Simultaneously cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and return to pan. Add in cheese sauce and mix thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Butter a large casserole dish.
Dump pasta into casserole dish. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a minute. Add breadcrumbs and sauté until golden–very quick–couple of minutes to avoid burning. Sprinkle over pasta. Cook for about half an hour until it is bubbling warm and heated throughout.