As far as food or drink-related holiday traditions with family and friends, I would have to say that lobster mac and cheese is one of our favorites. I have been making this for several years and it is a huge hit with even the non-lobster loving kids. It is not an easy process, but not too difficult. I have worked on several recopies, my favorite is below. — Susan Povich, Red Hook Lobster Pound
For quick lobster stock:
In a large pot bring four inches of water to a rolling boil. Add all stock ingredients above except for the lobster. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Add the five lobsters, cover, and keep at a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Remove the lobsters and let them rest — drain in a container that can catch their juices. (You can crack the lobsters now if you want to encourage more juice to be released.)
Add their juices to the broth. Then strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth and replace in the pot. Reduce until there is about six cups of liquid.
For the cheese sauce:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter, sieve in flour and cook on low heat for one minute. Heat milk and stock, add it slowly to the butter and flour, then cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring until it's thick. Meanwhile, boil noodles in remaining stock (add a bit of water if necessary) for 3 minutes (until half cooked). When the cheese sauce is thick enough so that it coats a spoon, add the grated Gruyère, Chedder, Asiago and mascarpone, and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let rest.
Meanwhile, pick the meat from the lobsters (tail, claw, knuckle, bodies if you are so inclined), rinse off the tamales. Clean and chop the tails in ¾-inch pieces. Do not chop the claws. Drain the noodles, mix in cheese sauce and lobster, and check the seasoning. Spray a 9-by-14-inch gratin pan (I use whatever pan fills nicely to the top) with PAM, pour in noodle mixture. Try to spread the lobster evenly in the pan. Set aside.
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a pan. Add panko crumbs, lemon zest, chopped thyme and cook for a few minutes on medium heat while stirring to bring out flavor. Spread the mixture evenly over the mac and cheese mixture. Cook at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Let cool a few minutes and serve.