Burst media_leaderboard

Follow Me on Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest

Friday, April 20, 2012

Crawfish Monica

When we hit New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (Jazz Fest), this is our favorite dish! If you can't make it to Jazz Fest, bring a little of the Jazz Fest to YOUR house! It's creamy, "spicy as you want it to be," and puts those Springtime Louisiana crawfish to good use. Sources say that this dish was invented by Pierre "Pete" Hilzim, the president and head chef of Kajun Kettle Foods.  He supposedly named it after his wife.  Crawfish Monica has been served since 1982 at Jazz Fest, and for a long time, I think this may have been the ONLY place you could get it.  

At the fairgrounds, they make is SUPER spicy; but I know that would be too much heat for my family, so I scaled back on the Cajun seasoning.  I also added smoked sausage in my dish to add an extra dimension to my flavor profile. For those adverse or allergic to seafood, this would be nice with some good old chicken, too.   Now I am pretty sure that "the" official recipe for Crawfish Monica is kept in a secret vault somewhere, maybe under a barrel of Louisiana Hot Sauce... but here is my version.

Here is my video tutorial to making this dish!
  • 1 pound of dried rotini pasta
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp) of butter
  • 2 - 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp yellow onion, minced
  • 1- 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 7 - 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of half and half (or heavy cream)
  • 1/3 pound of smoked sausage (the smokier the better) 
  • 1 1/2 tsp of Cajun seasoning (I used Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning)
  • 1 pound fresh, cooked (or frozen) crawfish tails
  • sprinkle of parsley
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce



 Step-by-step
    7 -8 cloves of garlic, minced.  This dish NEEDS LOTS of garlic!
    2 -3 green onions, sliced on a bias.
    2 - 3 Tbsp diced yellow onion
    1/3 pound smoked sausage
    Fresh cooked or frozen (shown here) crawfish tails.  Allow the tails to thaw out in the sink in cool water. 
    1 - 2 cups quartered grape tomatoes.
    I prefer to rinse my crawfish tails. If you want to leave the "fat" on them, be my guest.
    Add the rotini pasta to boiling water.. 
Cook to al dente - about 9 minutes.
    Drain and rinse under cool water to prevent them from sticking together.
     
    Now... let's put it all together:

    This is going to go fast! Get your music going!!
    Melt the butter in a heavy pan.
    1/2 cup butter (8 Tbsp)
    Add minced garlic and cook about 1 minute.  We don't really want it brown.
    7 - 8 cloves garlic, minced
    Add diced yellow onion.  Cook another minute.
2 - 3 Tbsp diced yellow onion
Add smoked sausage and tomatoes.
1/3 pound smoked sausage
1 - 2 cups quartered grape tomatoes
Let this cook down a few minutes.

Add in the green onions and tomato sauce.
2 - 3 chopped green onions
Let them all cook down a bit together.
Pretty, huh?
Add in the half and half (or cream).  All it to come to a boil and cook down a little to start thickening.

Make it soupier than you think you will want it in the end, because the noodles will absorb a lot of the sauce.  - and it's nice to have it "saucy" and creamy in the end.
3 cups half and half
Add in the Creole seasoning.  Start slow here!  Perhaps add 1/2 tsp at a time and taste, then add more until you get it to the heat level you want. Add half of the Parmesan cheese.
1 1/2 tsp Cajun or Creole seasoning
Add in the rinsed noodles.

1 pound cooked, drained, rinsed rotini noodles
Add the chopped parsley and adjust seasonings to sauce.
a small handful of chopped fresh parsley
Finally... add in the rinsed crawfish tails.
1 pound rinsed cooked crawfish tails
Washing your crawfish seems to be a hotbed of contention among my readers.  Many feel you should not rinse them.  Let me again reiterate that this is a personal choice.  If you want all the flavor of the fat, don't rinse.  If you are like me and bristle at the smell when you first open that package, then be guest to rinse them. 

If you live in an area where you can not find local, Louisiana crawfish.  You can purchase them online at CajunGrocer.com and they will ship them to you.
Adjust salt and pepper....
kosher salt to taste
fresh cracked black pepper
Make any final adjustments to heat, salt, pepper, etc.  Add a few more fresh green onions if you'd like.
Final adjustments
When the sauce is "saucy," the seasonings right, and the tails tender.... get ready to serve!  Serve immediately with some of the left over Parmesan cheese and some good, hot French bread!  .... and listen to some good Jazz!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe!

There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

The Menu Musings cookbook is sure to be a hit at your house, and will make great gifts!  For more information, here is a link!
Connect with me.    
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.
 
Looking for more awesome pasta recipes? 
Here are just a few bonus recipes to get your salivary glands going!
Spicy Garlic Shrimp

Creamy Chicken Piccata
Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pesto Penne
Mediterranean Chicken Pasta 
Coconut Lemongrass Chicken

Written Directions:

You can do much of this prep ahead of time.  This is a pretty fast dish, but there are some things you could do to really hasten getting dinner on the table.
For prep ahead.... One thing you could do ahead is to cook the rotini pasta to al dente according to package directions (about 9 minutes).  Drain and rinse it well under cool water. Set it aside.  You could do this ahead of time, add a bit of oil to it and put the pasta into the fridge if cooking the dish later.  I wouldn't cook the noodles "all the way" done, as they will finish cooking in the sauce; and you don't want overcooked, mushy noodles.

Prep you your veggies ahead of time.  That way, you are ready to throw it all together. Store them in a ziptop bag and you will be ready to go when you get home.  Slice your sausage and store it in a ziptop bag for later as well.

Melt the butter in a heavy pan.  Add minced garlic and cook about 1 minute.  We don't really want it brown.  Add diced yellow onion.  Cook another minute.  Add smoked sausage and tomatoes. Let this cook down a few minutes.  Add in the green onions and tomato sauce. Let them all cook down a bit together.  

Add in the half and half (or cream).  All it to come to a boil and cook down a little to start thickening.  Make it soupier than you think you will want it in the end, because the noodles will absorb a lot of the sauce.  - and it's nice to have it "saucy" and creamy in the end. Add in the Creole seasoning.  Start slow here!  Perhaps add 1/2 tsp at a time and taste, then add more until you get it to the heat level you want. Add in half of the Parmesan cheese.

Add in the rinsed noodles.  Add the chopped parsley and adjust seasonings to sauce.  Finally... add in the rinsed crawfish tails.  Make any final adjustments to heat, salt, pepper, etc.  Add a few more fresh green onions if you'd like.   When the sauce is "saucy," the seasonings right, and the tails tender.... get ready to serve!  Serve immediately with reserved Parmesan, some good, hot French bread!  .... and listen to some jazz!

4 comments:

  1. About how many does this recipe feed? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! This recipe has almost a pound and a half of meat and a whole pound of pasta... so while it would depends on the sizes/appetites of your family, and the addition of side dishes, it should roughly feed 4-6 people. thanks, Julie

      Delete
  2. Hi, Julie! This is a delicious recipe. What is the best method to reheat this the next day?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just throw some in a bowl and microwave it! LOL

      Delete

Follow me on Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest