Lobster macaroni and cheese is a perfect dish for a Valentine’s Day in Maine. (Marie Durant photo)

There is a lot to be said about macaroni and cheese. Thomas Jefferson fell in love with it when he visited Paris and brought the recipe back with him. He liked it so much that he had it served at a state dinner in 1802. It was during the Depression, in 1937, that Kraft Foods introduced their boxed version. It was an instant hit, as a box could feed a family of four for 19 cents.

I know for a fact that my grandchildren have it for supper once a week. When visiting the kids on the West Coast, we were told that one of the boys was a very picky eater. When I was asked to retrieve something from the pantry, I discovered 19 boxes of macaroni and cheese neatly lined up in there. (Yes, I counted them.)

I have been wrapping up a box of Annie’s mac and cheese as a “stocking stuffer” for the grandchildren during the holidays for several years now. I have even found the gluten-free option for one of my little granddaughters. What I considered a gag gift is taken quite seriously by these children. It’s also become a staple for college students everywhere, along with copious packages of ramen noodles.

I have seen a familiar gleam come into people’s eyes when they discover it is being served at a potluck supper or evening meal, or included as a menu option.

The bottom line is, macaroni and cheese has become an all-time American favorite. One would be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t really care for the dish.

When I received a tip from a very good friend for a fabulous recipe for mac and cheese, she got my attention immediately. What better way to get through a Maine winter’s month than a warm bowl of baked macaroni and cheese? But wait. Valentine’s Day is coming as well. So what would make this even better? Lobster. Nothing speaks of love more than lobster, right?

That was it! Lobster macaroni and cheese.

Marie Durant is on the Harpswell Aging at Home Food Committee and cooks for the Meals in a Pinch program. She has lived in Cundy’s Harbor her entire life. She and her husband own and operate Durant’s Lobster. They have three sons and six grandchildren. Their three sons, as well as one grandson, are commercial fishermen/lobstermen in Cundy’s Harbor. With a fabulous recipe like this, it is no wonder that her family remains in town and close to Marie. Talk about a labor of love. This is it.

“The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you is as nice a valentine as you can give.” — Julia Child



4 lobsters

3 cups milk

1/2 cup light cream

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 pound cavatappi pasta (elbows are fine as well)

3/4 pound Cooper sharp cheddar cheese (shredded fresh)

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash of grated nutmeg

About 1/2 cup Italian panko seasoned breadcrumbs

Spray a 9-by-13 dish lightly with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the lobsters, pick the meat, and cut it into bite-size pieces. Add more lobster if you want … more is good. Reserve the water from the lobster claws and set aside.

Cook lobsters for 20 minutes, until right after they turn red. Saute the chunks of lobster in one tablespoon of butter and set aside.

Warm the milk and cream in the microwave (do not boil).

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large skillet and whisk in the flour. Whisk constantly until smooth for about 1 minute. Whisk in warm milk and cream, stirring constantly until smooth. Add cheese, along with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle in a pinch of nutmeg and, finally, fold in prepared lobster meat. Boil pasta in salted water as directed, with a tablespoon of olive oil added to boiling water to prevent sticking. Drain and rinse. Add that 1/2 cup of lobster claw water into the cheese mixture before adding the drained pasta. (This addition enhances the flavor.) Slowly add pasta to the cheese mixture and fold in.

Spoon the lobster mac and cheese into the baking dish and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake for about 25 minutes until light brown. Serve immediately.


(A correction on a variation to last month’s shepherd’s pie recipe: If used, gravy should be mixed with the meat before baking, not ladled over the top.)

Cooking at 43° North, a program of Harpswell Aging at Home, brings Harpswell residents together for cooking programs, in person and online. Watch the Anchor calendar for listings.

HAH always needs cooks for its Meals in a Pinch program, which provides nutritious meals to seniors in need of emergency assistance. For more information, contact Julie Moulton at 207-330-5416 or juliemoulton28@gmail.com.