When you care enough to make the very best!

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Lobster Mac & Four Cheeses

Salt

8 ounces dried elbow macaroni

2 medium garlic cloves

2 medium shallots

1 pound cooked lobster meat

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (divided use)

1 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese

4 ounces low-fat (but not nonfat) cream cheese

2 cups low-fat milk (or substitute heavy cream)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup panko (Japanese-style) bread crumbs (may substitute fine plain dried bread crumbs)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly grease a shallow, 3-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions. Drain; reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Mince garlic and shallots; they can be combined and should total about 1⁄3 cup. Coarsely chop lobster meat.

Meanwhile, fill a large saucepan with about 2 inches water; heat over medium-high heat.

Combine Cheddar, 1 cup Parmesan, Gruyere and cream cheese in a stainless-steel (or heatproof) mixing bowl that will just fit over the top of the saucepan (so that water will not touch bottom of bowl). Once cheeses start to melt, add milk or cream and stir gently; this process will take about 10 minutes total. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.

Pour heated water out of saucepan, then add butter and melt it over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots; cook 2 minutes, until softened, then add lobster meat and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until just heated through.

Pour reserved pasta cooking water over macaroni to loosen it (still in the colander); drain, then add macaroni to saucepan and stir to coat with butter. Add cheese mixture and stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and bread crumbs. Bake uncovered for about 10 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. (If topping does not brown, run casserole under broiler for a few minutes; watch closely to see it does not burn.)

Makes 4 to 6 generous servings, each (based on 6 servings, using low-fat milk): 665 calories, 50 grams protein, 41 grams carbohydrates, 33 grams fat (19 grams saturated), 158 milligrams cholesterol, 1,094 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

This is the next subject of my very next dinner at home with my special someone. I highly recommend a nap afterwards, it’s heavy, it’s rich, and if there’s just two of you, I suggest perhaps just making half. Enjoy this with a light white wine or bubbly and a salad. If you’re looking to up the fabulous value further….think truffle salad or caviar appetizer. It would send this goodness over the edge – just get your fur and tiara out!

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