I think I was in my late teens when I first put a bite of this rich, cheesy pasta blessed with crawfish in my mouth. I could not get enough of it! There ought to be a Hallelujah chorus sung every time a dish of Crawfish Fettuccine comes out of the oven all bubbly and smelling good. This casserole did not become popular until the late seventies. My guess is that one day a southern Louisiana cook flipped a classic Italian favorite into a Cajun one by adding some crawfish, the trinity (onions, celery and bell pepper) and spiciness to it. Clever!
I took a recipe Mamma uses and changed it a bit. My goal these days is cooking with some lower processed ingredients. If you think about it anytime we start messin’ with our food we are processing it to a certain extent. So instead of the canned cream soup I used half and half, butter and flour and instead of the processed cheese I used some cheddar and cream cheese. Here it is:
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup onions, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 pound raw, peeled crawfish tails or shrimp (deveined)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup half and half
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup (4 ounces) mild cheddar cheese, grated
2 oz. cream cheese
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you can stand it)
8 ounces fettuccine pasta
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Melt butter in a large skillet and add vegetables to cook until onions are clear, about 15 minutes. Next add crawfish or shrimp and cook for 10 minutes stirring often.
Then add flour, half and half and chicken broth stirring until well blended. Then add the cheddar cheese, cream cheese and jalapeno pepper stirring until melted into sauce. Stir in salt and cayenne pepper. Cook on low heat (a very slow simmer) for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
Boil pasta while the sauce is cooking in salted water according to directions on package. Then add the pasta by spoonfuls straight from the water, without draining it, into the sauce. Do not add the rest of the pasta water. Add parsley and combine well then pour into a greased casserole dish. Top with parmesan cheese (and breadcrumbs if you want an added crunch). Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly and golden on the edges. Garnish with more chopped parsley. Enjoy!
You cannot change reality, but you can control the manner in which you look at things. Your attitude is under your own control. Weed out the negative and focus on the positive!