2 cups ubetti pasta, cooked according to package instructions
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups 2% milk
1 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning (or 2 tsp celery salt)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
4 cups coarsely grated old Cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp dry vermouth
6 oz diced cooked lobster meat
4 thinly sliced green onions
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly whisked
2 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch (20 cm) baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture smells slightly nutty but has not changed colour, about 4 minutes.
3. Add the milk in 3 parts, beating well with a whisk and letting the mixture thicken between each addition. Whisk in the Old Bay seasoning and the mustard. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cheese in 3 parts, whisking between each addition until the cheese has melted. Whisk in the vermouth and then stir in the cooked pasta, lobster meat and green onions.
4. Spread the mac ’n’ cheese into the prepared baking pan. Cover the surface of the pasta directly with plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature before chilling until set, at least 2 hours.
1. For the crust, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Arrange the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate bowls for dredging. Turn the pan of chilled mac ’n’ cheese out onto a cutting board and cut into 24 portions.
2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan generously and evenly. Dip each square in the flour, coating it fully and shaking off any excess. Dunk into the eggs and then the breadcrumbs and carefully set each square in the sauté pan, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart (you may need to work in batches). Fry for about 2 minutes on each side until evenly browned, then transfer to the baking tray and repeat with the remaining squares.
3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, to ensure the cheese has melted all the way through. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.
Tips and Substitutions
You can chill the mac ’n’ cheese mixture for up to 1 day or remove it from the pan, wrap well and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before portioning, breading and pan-frying. You can also bread and pan-fry the squares up to 2 hours ahead of time, chill and then warm through in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes to avoid pan-frying while your guests are there.
Source and Credits
Excerpted from Set for the Holidays with Anna Olson
Courtesy of Penguin Random House