If macaroni and cheese conjures the vision of a blue box with a packet of powdered cheese that results in a big bowl of orange slop, be warned: this is not a dish for you. Mind you, I’ve eaten more than my share of the Krafted-in-a-food-lab version. Until, that is, I discovered the rapture of real macaroni and cheese.

Begging your pardon, but the Reiser princes have unanimously proclaimed the Lobster Mac & Cheese at Bobby Van’s to be the ne plus ultra of lobster mac & cheese. It’s at once crunchy, crispy, lusciously creamy, exquisitely cheesy, and it’s loaded with delightful plump chunks of fresh, sweet lobster. (I know…I’m bordering on food porn again. I should be banned from writing blog posts just before dinner!)

Ina’s version of Lobster Mac & Cheese is close – but no cigar. It was lacking the intense cheesiness and crustiness of the restaurant’s blissful perfection, and seemed sort of bland and milky by comparison. Don’t get me wrong…it was certainly delish, just not up to the gold standard to which my young gentlemen have grown accustomed, much to the dismay of my AmEx card.

Ina is masterful at taking a basic recipe and dressing it up in a slightly differently costume in another cookbook. Her standard Mac & Cheese in the Family Style cookbook is a basic mac and cheese recipe topped with tomato slices. Truffled Mac & Cheese? Same gig only with mushrooms and truffle butter. This version is simply the same old, same old with the addition of cooked lobster meat. It’s a very easy recipe, where you add grated cheese to a béchamel sauce, add the cooked pasta and lobster, dump it all into a casserole dish, top it with crumbs and bake it.

If you’re looking for a rich, indulgent, comfort dish, look no further. Next time, I’m going to experiment with different kinds of cheese, use more of it, and I’ll either use less milk or add more roux to make it slightly thicker. Come to think of it, tomorrow night we’re eating at Bobby Van’s. If I remember, I’m going to ask what kind of cheese makes it so yummy. I’ll keep ya posted!

Book: N/A – Barefoot Contessa “Perfect Pasta” episode

Chef: Zack, David and Andrea

Active time: 15 mins Inactive time: 35 mins Potchke factor: 1

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