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Hawaiian Crusted Orecchiette
By James Aptakin | Barilla Rep Your Region 2017 Finalist

Kahuku, HI


“Hawaii Regional cuisine is sustainable comfort food using locally sourced ingredients. This dish showcases what chefs are currently doing to push new boundaries with the best ingredients grown here in Hawaii. I’m hoping to inspire others to think outside of the box, they should make this dish their own by using ingredients from their local or regional area. The home cook should use seafood, produce and other regional cuisine elements to recreate their own local versions of this dish creating the ultimate crust and flavors using a variety of Barilla pasta.” – James Aptakin



12 oz. Barilla Orecchiette pasta from their Artisanal Collection
4-6 quarts Water
½ tsp. For J’s Hawaiian Red Alae Salt


  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a 8-quart pot or equivalent, add salt to taste, and add pasta to boiling water
  2. For authentic “al dente” pasta, boil for 12 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Drain well and set aside to be folded into the cheese sauce.

Kona lobster Tail


1 6to8 oz. Kona Lobster Tail
½ c Naked Cow Dairy Unsalted Butter
½ c Water


  1. Place lobster tail in a water and butter for 8 minutes until poached remove and cool
  2. With kitchen scissors cut along bottom of lobster tail and pull the lobster meat out, chop into small pieces and set aside to fold into cheese sauce
  3. Save tail shells for lobster oil

Naked Cow Dairy Seven Cheese Sauce


2 tbsp. Naked Cow Dairy Unsalted Butter
2 tbsp. Flour
1 c Naked Cow Dairy Whole Milk
½ lb. Naked Cow Dairy VOG-Guava Smoked Cheese, grated
¼ lb. Naked Cow Dairy Hawaiian Chili Cheese, grated
½ lb. Naked Cow Dairy Gouda-Style Havarti Cheese, grated
¼ lb. Naked Cow Dairy Pink Hawaii Cheese with Pink Peppercorns
½ lb. Naked Cow Dairy Local Honey and Coffee Cheese, grated
½ lb. Naked Cow Dairy Fontina Cheese, grated
¼ lb. Naked Cow Dairy White Cheddar Cheese, grated
1/8 tsp. For J’s Hawaiian Red Alaea Salt
1/8 tsp. White Pepper
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/8 tsp. Colman’s Dry Mustard
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg, grated
2 oz. Kahuku Corn, shaved off the husk raw
6 to 8 oz. Butter Poached Lobster Tail, chopped up small pieces (*see recipe above)


  1. In saucepan melt the butter over medium heat
  2. Sprinkle the flour into the butter stirring with a whisk cooking for 2 minutes
  3. Whisk in warm milk cooking for about 2 minutes until thickened working out any lumps in the flour
  4. Add cheeses with seasonings on low heat stirring until well blended on low
  5. Set aside 1 cup of cheese mixture
  6. Fold Orecchiette pasta and lobster meat into cheese mixture, then pour in a 9×13 inch pan and cover the pan with plastic wrap
  7. Refrigerate or freeze for 5 hours.
  8. Take a 4 oz. cookie scooper and scoop mixture in your hands to forms a tightly compacted meatball shape. Place on wax paper–lined tray.

Hawaiian Mac & Cheese Balls


½ c crushed Hawaiian Chip Company taro chips
1 tbsp. Togarashi- Japanese Seven-Spice Blend
½ c Furikake Seaweed Seasoning
½ c Bubu Arare Toasted Rice Crackers
½ c Panko Bread Crumbs
¼ c Orecchiette Pasta, in a spice grinder to create pasta dust for coating
1 c Flour
3 large Ka Lei Hawaiian Eggs, beaten


  1. Place all dry ingredients for breading together in a bowl mix well
  2. Place flour in separate bowl
  3. Place beaten eggs in separate bowl
  4. Place pre-formed lobster mac and cheese balls into flour and coat, then egg and coat, then Hawaiian crust mixture and coat, set aside on a sheet pan lined with wax paper
  5. Heat 6 cups Ahualoa Farms Macadamia nut oil in 4-quart saucepan
  6. Place lobster cheese balls into mac nut oil heated to 325° F for 4 minutes until outside is golden brown, and inside is hot, take out with slotted spoon placed on plate with paper towel to rest

Kona lobster Kahuku corn sauce


¼ c Ahualoa Farms Macadamia Nut Oil
1 ea. Lobster Dhells
½ tsp. For J’s Hawaiian Alaea Hawaiian Red Salt
½ tsp. Black Pepper
2 tbsp. Annatto Powder
2 ea. Kahuku Corn, shaved off husk
¼ c Kona Brewing Company Beer
1 c Leftover Cheese Sauce


  1. Heat oil on medium heat, add lobster shells, then the seasonings and corn, cook for 10 minutes on low heat.
  2. Remove lobster shell, and place oil in the blender.
  3. Add 1 cup of cheese sauce to a mixture to create the lobster corn puree for the dip.


    1. Take a spoon full of lobster corn cheese puree and make a swoosh with the back of a spoon in a flowing movement in the center of the plate.
    2. Place Lobster mac and cheese balls across the sauce.
    3. Grate cheese over the top and garnish.


    1. This dish pays tribute to Hawaii’s connection to the sea, each island is surrounded by beautiful white, black, or green sand beaches, thriving coral reefs with tropical fish in a rainbow of colors, and the warm turquoise blue the Pacific Ocean.
    2. A delicate coral-like savory tuli was made from the lobster oil and coral as an intricate garnish. The lobster oil is made from its bright orange colored shells to give a pop of color.
    3. Local candy striped beets shaved, Big Island hearts of palm, watermelon radish, micro greens and edible Nasturtium leaves and flowers round out the garnish choices to create an ocean themed delight.
    4. The final artistic pieces are coral looking coral-colored plastic forks to add a little bit of whimsical fun to the dish.
    5. Most important ingredient is love and having fun keeping the passion alive. Bon Appetite and Aloha.

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