Late winter and early spring I always get a craving for crawfish. It’s in season around this time of year and paired with Mardi Gras, these two events always remind me of several delicious years living in Louisiana.
My time in Louisiana were pre-culinary school. My lack of culinary skills back then were sorely evident. Especially when I brought home a delectable dish made for me by one of my patients. Usually a Cajun chicken stew, gumbo or etouffee; and once a divine Crawfish Fettuccine.
I’d dance happily into the kitchen of our little pink house and plant my gift of food on the bright green counter. Ranger Craig and I would carefully, almost ceremoniously, open the plastic containers filled with food and stare at amazement.
This makes me smile now. We were so enthralled with the deliciousness bestowed upon us by the kindest, sweetest Cajun women. All with hearts of gold, wanting to feed two young people who had no idea how to cook.
Maybe this is why I love to give the gift of food. Brings back memories of the kindness shown to Ranger Craig and I many years ago when we were just starting our careers… and hadn’t given a second thought as to how we might eat.
Unfortunately, I never got the recipe for the crawfish fettuccine. And that’s ok. Although I would have loved Mrs. Breaux’s recipe, several years ago I re-created this slightly decadent dish.
Rather than a traditional heavy cream sauce I’ve prepared this dish with a béchamel laced with white wine, a hint of lemon and of course a dash of Tabasco. This keeps the dish a little lighter but with all the unique flavors of Cajun cuisine.
Tastes like Mardi Gras in a pasta bowl. 🙂
1 lb fettuccine, prepared according to package directions (I often sub with gluten free fettuccine)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup finely chopped onions
½ cup finely diced green pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups warm milk
½ cup white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chive, plus more for garnish
Spritz of lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb cooked crawfish tails (or cooked shrimp or lobster pieces)
Grated parmesan for garnish
Lemon wedges for serving
In a large sauce pan, heat the butter on medium high and when the better is melted add the onions and green peppers. Once the onions and green peppers are wilted add the garlic and sauté for a minute longer.
With a whisk, add the flour, stirring for a minute or two, just don’t let the flour brown. Turn the heat to medium low and then slowly whisk in the warm milk. Once incorporated and smooth add the white wine. Continue to whisk until the béchamel has thickened. Adding additional milk if the sauce is too thick.
Stir in the fresh chive and spritz of lemon and then season to taste with salt and pepper. I love using fine sea salt to season this dish. Last, add a dash or two of Tabasco to taste.
Place the cooked fettuccine on a large platter or in a large pasta bowl. Fold the crawfish tails into the sauce and pour over the fettuccine. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese and additional chopped chive. Serve with extra lemon wedges.