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Crawfish Étouffée Pasta
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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5.0 (2 rated)
Cook time:
Prep time:

Traditionally, the word étouffée means to smother or braise. This is a lighter version of a dish with a roux-based sauce that features all of the same flavors without the heaviness.

Swap option: This same pasta can be made with shrimp or crabmeat when crawfish is out of season. Also, swapping coconut milk for heavy cream is another great option. 


  • Étouffée Sauce

    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
    • 1/2 jalapeño, finely diced
    • 1 stalk celery, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
    • 1 small vine ripened tomato, diced
    • 1/2 stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 ounce sherry
    • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
    • 1/2 cup shellfish stock
    • 2 ounces butter
    • 1 lemon, zested
    • Salt, to taste
    • Hot sauce, to taste
  • To serve

    • 12 ounces dry gnocchietti or fusilli pasta, boiled in salted water and tossed lightly with olive oil
    • 12 ounces peeled crawfish tails
    • 1 cup green onion, sliced
    • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


To make the étouffée sauce:

1. In a large sauté pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until wisps of smoke form. Add the onion, red pepper and jalapeno to the pan and let fry in the oil until they start to brown, about 4 minutes.

2. Next, add the celery, garlic, tomato, lemongrass, and bay leaf to the pan. Let the sauce simmer for another 4 minutes, then add the sherry to deglaze the pan (careful, the alcohol in the sherry may flame a bit).

3. Next add the heavy cream, shellfish stock, butter and lemon zest to the pan and let simmer for about 5 minutes, or until it reduces and thickens by a quarter. Season the sauce to taste with salt and hot sauce.

To serve:

Toss the cooked pasta, crawfish tails and green onion in with the hot étouffée sauce and let simmer together for 1 minute (any longer and the crawfish tails will start to get tough).

Give the pasta dish a few more tosses to thoroughly mix everything together and then separate it into six bowls. Top each serving with a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan and enjoy!