8 oz. pasta shapes, such as cavatappi
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
6 oz. fontina cheese, shredded*
4 oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded*
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
Dash grated nutmeg
12 oz. cooked lobster meat, cut into ½-inch chunks**
½ cup panko
Minced fresh chives, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish or individual gratin dishes. Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta until a few minutes shy of al dente according to the package directions. Drain well in a colander.
While the pasta is in the colander, return the pot to the medium heat. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in the pan. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until light golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk in small additions until completely added and no lumps of flour remain. Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Continue to heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce bubbles and thickens, about 5 minutes. Once bubbling, cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly, scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent burning. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the cheese and mix until completely melted. Return the pasta to the pot and mix to coat well with the cheese sauce. Gently fold in the lobster meat. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the microwave. Stir in the panko and toss until the crumbs are evenly coated. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the pasta in the baking dish. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes or until the top is browned and the cheese is bubbling. Serve warm topped with fresh minced chives, if desired.
*For best results, always use freshly shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese comes coated in things such as flour, cornstarch to prevent clumping and results in an unpleasant, gritty texture when melted.
**Scared of cooking lobster? I promise, it’s not hard! I have a simple step-by-step on broiled lobster tails here.