Last evening as I wondered what to make for dinner, I decided to head to the local market for some inspiration. I was so very pleased to find that our local fish monger had gotten some langostinos in from Chile. My mind began humming. How would I choose to prepare these tonight? There are some favorite answers for those familiar with langostinos: scampi, “mock lobster” casserole or bisque, little appetizers. However, I was feeling the need for comfort food since the weather was cold and rainy, and well on its way to stormy. I decided to cook what is essentially a very tasty gourmet mac n’ cheese.
“But, Lady Eva, first things first. What are langostinos?”
Langostinos are commonly referred to as ‘langostino lobsters’, but in reality are not actually lobsters at all. Also called squat lobsters (the mind wanders thinking about the classic B-52s song rewritten as Squat Lobster, but I digress), these tasty creatures are actually crustaceans of the families Galatheidae, Chirostylidae and Kiwaidae and are most closely related to crabs.
And now the recipe (admittedly, I merely added things to taste so not everything has measurements for you):
For the saute
- 8 ounces frozen (or fresh) langostinos, rinsed
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
- extra virgin olive oil
- sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
- fresh basil
For the Mornay Sauce
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
- 1 cup heated milk
- kosher salt
- white pepper
- 1/2 cup grated white cheddar
- Worcestershire sauce
~ 12 oz conchiglie (fresh or dried)
- Prepare the conchiglie according to package directions and set aside with a drizzle of oil to coat.
Meanwhile prepare the Mornay Sauce
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add flour and stir until mixture is well blended.
- Gradually stir in hot milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce begins to boil and thickens.
- Simmer, stirring frequently, over very low heat for 5 minutes.
- Stir in white cheddar cheese, and continue to stir over low heat until cheese is melted
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat
- Once oil is hot, saute the sliced garlic for 1-2 minutes
- Add langostinos and cook for ~3 minutes
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Stir-in sun-dried tomatoes until flavors are incorporated
- In a separate bowl stir the conchiglie and the Mornay sauce together
To plate, top the conchilglie with the langostino mixture. Finish with toasted pignoli and fresh basil.