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.
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!