Jun 1, 2010

Crawfish, Maw Maws, and Being Naughty

In my book, Crawfish Fettuccine is kin to Pastalaya and Crawfish or Shrimp Alfredeaux (yes, it has to be spelled like that).  Not just because of the pasta.  These dishes are what you'd find on the menus of Cajun wannabe restaurants.  In the 1980s Chef Paul Prudhomme sparked a Cajun food craze that made its way across the country.  A lot of the food, though, was Cajun for the masses--dishes that Maw Maw never made.  For instance, if Maw Maw "blackened" something, she tossed it out!

But just because these dishes are mainstream and Maw Maw didn't make them (or thought they were mistakes and fed them to the dogs) doesn't mean I won't eat them. 

You know by now I'll eat just about anything, right? 

My Maw Maw never made dishes like Crawfish Fettuccine or Pastalaya and her Maw Maw never made dishes like that either.     

Certain Maw Maws would never pair crawfish with pasta.  For Heaven's sake!  That would be a plum crazy waste of perfectly good crawfish. If you were lucky enough to have crawfish, you boiled them and invited the masses. Or you made etouffee and piled it on rice.


It's hard to believe since S LA is so nutso over crawfish that for some generations, regardless of how you cooked ‘em, you sure didn’t admit to eating them! There was a stigma attached. Who would eat something that burrows in the mud?

But I misspoke because someone's Maw Maw sure makes these newfangled "Cajun" dishes. The Boy’s Maw Maw.

My mother-in-law makes Crawfish Fettuccine for special occasions. She treats it as something decadent--reserved for holidays and birthdays. It's full of rich succulent crawfish, half and half, and onions, bell pepper, and celery bathed in butter.  Oh.  And Velveeta cheese.

Yes.  Velveeta.  Wait don't leave just yet.

I don’t like eating Velveeta. I hesitate when it's in an ingredient list.  And when I do cook with it, it makes me feel so very bad.


Wait. I misspoke again.  (What's wrong with me today?)



I love eating Velveeta. (There.  Yeah, I said it!) It’s creamy and melty and salty. And it makes me feel so very good.

Oh, come on. Admit it. You know you have a naughty food too!  What is it? 
Secret's safe with me.


Mise en place for Crawfish Fettuccine: butter...and lots of it, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, celery, garlic, green onion, crawfish tails, flour, salt, pepper, half and half, velveeta (you know you want to), fettuccine, parmesan cheese

Start cooking the fettuccine so it's ready when everything else is.
Saute the vegetables in butter.  Smells so good.

  Then add the crawfish tails, flour, salt, & pepper and cook for about 15 min.  Smells even better.
Add the half and half and velveeta and cook for about 15 minutes to thicken and reduce. 
Go ahead and take a taste.
 
Ya know ya wanna be naughty like that.
Toss in the cooked pasta and place everything in a casserole dish.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

Note: the recipe below is for a 13 x 9 pan, which will feed a crowd.  I halve the recipe and use an 8 x 8 dish.  I don't halve the 3 green onions or 3 cloves of garlic; I use 2 of each. 
Let's not split hairs...er...garlic cloves.

Serve up the naughtiness.



Linking with Dishing It Up (Casserole Month)




Thrifty Texas Penny
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Crawfish (or Shrimp) Fettuccine
from Ms. enPlace

2 onions, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 large jalapeno, chopped (or to taste)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 sticks butter
2 lbs crawfish or shrimp
salt & pepper to taste
1 heaping tsp flour
1/2 pt half & half
1/2 lb velveeta, cubed
10 oz fettuccine noodles, uncooked
Parmesan cheese

Cook the fettuccine according to package directions.

Saute the first 6 ingredients in melted butter.  When vegetables are tender, add the crawfish tails, along with any fat in the package, salt & pepper, and flour.  Stir to coat the mixture in flour.  Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the half & half and cubed velveeta.  Cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth and thickened.  Taste for seasonings and adjust.  Toss in the cooked fettuccine.

Place the mixture in a greased 13 x 9 dish.  Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.  Check while baking to make sure the pasta isn't drying out.

7 comments:

  1. I have this aversion to all things processed, yet I can't get over my love of grilled cheese made with VELVEETA!

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  2. Mmmmm.... Velveta! How can you not like it, LOL.

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  3. This is really delightful looking. Pretzels and popcorn are my downfall. I can never eat 10 or just a cup. That simply is not in my genes which is probably why I have occasional problems fitting into my jeans. I love your blog, but I don't comment often. I just wanted you to know I am a devoted reader. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  4. M & Hun: Velveeta is the devil, but it's so darn tempting!

    Mary: thanks for reading! Popcorn...that's a good one. I have trouble stopping myself with that too. BTW, I love puns. Genes/jeans, good stuff!

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  5. I definitely want to be naughty if it means that I can eat this. It looks delicious! I have no problems with Velveeta. I enjoyed reading this post, as always. Never knew that you all didn't eat "blackened foods". I figured it was truly an authentic thing - LOL! Little did I know.

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  6. I loved Velveeta when I was growing, especially on melted on chips. This looks like a great pasta dish.

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  7. Kim- we EAT blackened food, it just isn't authentic...more like a fad.

    Fresh Local & Best- melted on chips...I remember my roommate and I eating that for breakfast in college!

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