An idea for a Valentine’s night supper

February 13, 2016 § Leave a comment

Here’s a quick idea for a special meal at home if you don’t fancy sharing an evening in a restaurant with couples out on an awkward first date, red roses and all that over-hyped jazz.

My suggested menu is built around a main course of Lobster Mac and Cheese. This is a world away from the stodgy macaroni cheese I remember from my childhood. It was a very on-trend dish last year but now that Marks and Spencers do a ready meal version I think we can say it’s truly become mainstream.

I’d wanted to give the dish a try but couldn’t bear the idea of using expensive and hard-to-source lobster in anything except it’s purest form. But then I saw the Iceland Christmas ad campaign and filled my chest freezer with 10 quid packets of pairs of Canadian lobster tails. Perfect for experimenting with different lobster recipes, be they salads, chowders or indeed lobster mac and cheese.

After a couple of trial runs, I’m quite pleased now with the recipe I’ve come up with. I’d accompany it with a crisp green salad dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.

To start, you could stay with the seafood theme and serve a pretty-as-a-picture crab, pink grapefruit and avocado salad.

To finish something fresh and light on carbs would be in order – maybe a lemon granita or fruit salad, and of course Champagne would be the perfect drink.

Lobster mac and cheese

Serves 2

Ingredients

180g dried macaroni or other small pasta shapes (I used conchigliette)
2 small cooked lobster tails, meat removed from the shell and cut into bite-size chunks
30g unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
25g plain flour
100ml Noilly Prat vermouth
350ml semi-skimmed milk
35ml double cream
2 teaspoons tomato purée
1 teaspoon paprika
generous pinch cayenne pepper
25g gruyère cheese
2 tablespoons chopped flatleaf parsley
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons Panko or similar dry breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C fan.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boilings salted water until just al dente then drain.

While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce.

Melt the butter and sauté the chopped shallots for a minute or two until soft and translucent. Stir in the flour to make a roux and cook for a further minute.

Add the Noilly Prat, milk and cream a little at a time stirring well after each addition. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Add the tomato purée, paprika, cayenne pepper and gruyère cheese and stir to combine well and melt the cheese. Add the chopped parsley and season to taste.

Mix together the sauce, cooked pasta and lobster meat and turn into a shallow heatproof dish.

Sprinkle the grated parmesan and breadcrumbs over the top and bake in the preheated oven 210 degrees fan for about 15 minutes until piping hot and golden brown on top.

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