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.
- 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
- 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.
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!