Wednesday was the Top Chef finale. I was totally rooting for Paul to win. [spoiler alert]
He won! Yay. I was questioning the winner during the judges comments, but I stuck by my guns. The most amazing comment by far was Hugh telling Sara he “thought he saw her career in it.” [her dessert – hazelnut cake with candied kumkwats and roasted white chocolate] I’ve never heard a judge say anything like that before. I want to try that dish even more now!
It’s true. I’ve watched every season of Top Chef. I’m a nerd like that. Along the way I’ve learned lots of fun foodie/chef words like xanthan gum, sous vide, and that apparently you can turn anything into a foam. Mike learned what amuse bouche is. I’m so proud. Not to toot my own horn or anything And I’m awesome. Each season I pick one chef based solely off the first quick fire challenge and that’s who I root for all season. Each season that chef either goes top 4 or wins. Yeah. What’s up. Just saying, if you’re going on Top Chef you should impress me in the first quick fire, and then email to find out if I’m rooting for you. I could give you the edge you need to go the distance.
My first quick fire pick track record:
season 1 – Harold Dieterle > winner
season 2 – Sam Talbot > final 4
season 3 – Casey Thompson > final 3
season 4 – Richard Blais > final 3
season 5 – Carla Hall > final 3
season 6 – Bryan Voltaggio (mmm…the Voltagio brothers) > final 3
season 7 – Kevin Sbraga > winner
season 8 (all-stars) – Richard Blais (no brainer. I’m totally team Blais) > winner
*it was too funny how Padma totally screwed with Blais about going to the finale*
season 9 – Chris Jones > okay he didn’t go as far as the others, but I think he’s awesome. I mean come on, did you see his poisoned apple?
Bryan & Michael Voltaggio
yes and yes
So, if you end up on Top Chef hit me up. In the mean time you can feel like a super fancy chef by putting expensive ingredients in comfort food.
Lobster Mac 'n' Cheese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
- 2 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon for greasing dish
- salt & pepper
- 8 ounces penne pasta
- 1 small shallot finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato pasta
- 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/8 cup white wine
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese
- 1 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
- 15 ounces raw lobster tails defrost if frozen, meat removed from shell, chopped
- 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If needed adjust racks to middle of oven. Grease a 9″ x 9″ baking dish with butter.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously once boiling. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Once butter shimmers, add shallot and garlic and saute until translucent, stirring to prevent garlic from burning. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add tomato past and flour; stir to combine. Cook 3 to 4 minutes to toast roux. Add white wine and reduce by half, about 2 minutes.
Slowly add cream, whisking well to remove any lumps. Add paprika, cayenne, and bay leaf. Bring cream up to a simmer and then turn heat to low. Let reduce until the cream is thick and can coat a spoon, about 5 to 10 minutes. When thickened, remove the bay leaf.
Stir in the grated cheese, a handful at a time, combining well after each addition. Add the copped lobster meat to the sauce and stir well. Add the pasta and stir to coat. Pour pasta into prepared dish and sprinkle top with Panko bread crumbs and parsley.
Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle individual servings with parsley, if desired.